On Feb. 20, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines scheduled a meeting in Hamilton at 1:15 p.m. to have a public discussion of his wilderness study areas bill. However, without any notice, he changed the meeting time to around 12:30. His “discussion” was over by 1 p.m., and the 30-40 people who showed up around 1:15 were prevented from meeting with him.
I called his Missoula office to find out what happened, and they referred me to his Washington office. They said they would check and get back to me. l still have not heard back, despite a follow-up call.
It appears Daines is not able to listen to Montanans who have different views and important ideas and information pertinent to his WSA bill. His action was contrary to Montana values of openness and fairness.
It is true that the U.S. Forest Service did not recommend these areas for wilderness, but that was over 30 years ago. The two areas in Ravalli County — Blue Joint and the Sapphires — were not recommended because the Forest Service planned to build over 300 miles of logging roads in them.
What is needed is a new study to re-evaluate these areas before any action is taken.