Seldom-seen U.S. Sen. Steve Daines just ducked into the debate about bike use in Bitterroot Wilderness Study Areas, of course at a safe distance from his constituents, with a last-minute letter from Washington. With his letter, delivered a few days before the scheduled Bitterroot National Forest Travel Plan Objection response is to be made, he wants to further delay and obstruct a public process that has taken over a decade.
He says the delay is needed to consider facts he has gathered. Where has he been for the last decade with his facts? Maybe his alternative facts took a while to manufacture. Maybe the view from his high perch in D.C. looks different from the one here in the Bitterroot.
The decade leading up to the imminent Forest Service decision has been used for analyzing actual facts, gathering public comments during several public comment periods and finally capped by a lawsuit brought by mountain bikers. After all this deliberation by the Forest Service, the public at large and the courts, Senator Daines sends a letter to obstruct the final decision. If that is his version of democratic process, it’s time to reel him in out of the swamp; he needs some fresh air.