It is truly unfortunate that U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and U.S. Rep. Greg Giantforte continue to manipulate facts and ignore science simply to benefit the timber industry.
Their recent opinion column (April 15) makes it sound so easy: just log the forests and we will reduce forest fires. However, it’s not that simple. Scientific studies have clearly demonstrated that drought and heat (yes, that hated thing called climate change) are the main drivers of forest fires.
A couple of years ago I ran into Daines and his wife in the Beartooth Wilderness with an outfitter on horseback. I should have asked the senator, “Sir, do you think this forest is managing itself OK? Or should we log it?” I did wonder though why Daines is so hostile to protecting wild areas since he apparently enjoys visiting them. Could it have anything to do with money?
For example, visit opensecrets.org, go to contributions for Daines for the 2018 election cycle and click on “industries,” and you will see that some of his top contributions are from oil and gas at $434,490, and mining at $159,700. Then click on “contributors” and you will find that his second-biggest individual contributor is Koch Industries with $41,200.