FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Alternative Facts From Montana Senators Tester and Daines

by

The February 25, 2015 Washington Post gave Senator Tester four Pinocchios, the paper’s highest rating for politicians misrepresenting the truth, when Tester asserted that “every logging sale” in the state was “under litigation” and “nearly half of the awarded timber volume in Fiscal Year 2014 is currently under litigation.”

The Post’s renowned Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, found instead that “in 2014, the Forest Service’s Northern Region, which includes Montana, met its timber harvest goal for the first time in over 14 years. The region harvested 280 million board feet — enough to build nearly 10,000 homes.” Kessler added: “Given that Tester is the senior senator from Montana, his comments on litigation in Montana’s national forests are embarrassingly wrong. In both statements, he was wildly off the mark. He needs to brush up on his facts — and his math — before he opines again on the subject.”

The Forest Service also met its timber harvest target again in 2015. I have not seen the amount of logging reported yet for 2016, but the Great Falls Montana Tribune reported in February: “Logging in Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest best in decades.”

Unfortunately for Montanans, Tester didn’t take Kessler’s advice and instead decided to emulate President Trump and douse us with “alternative facts.” In a press release, Tester, joined by Senator Daines, the National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, and a dozen logging and ranching groups, claimed that environmentalists have shut down logging not just in Montana but across the West.

As several Montana reported from Tester’s and Daines’ press release: “The Forest Service estimates 80 forest projects are on hold because of legal challenges based on the Cottonwood decision in Regions 1, 2 and 4. Region 1 challenges include the East Reservoir Restoration Project in the Kootenai National Forest and the Colt-Summit Restoration and Fuels Reduction Project in the Lolo National Forest.”

But once again the truth, not Tester and Daines’ “alternative facts,” tells a different story. A total of four logging projects in lynx critical habitat are on hold over concerns for lynx critical habitat – which is a long ways from the 80 projects the senators claim. These are the East Reservoir Timber sale in the Kootenai National Forest, and the Bozeman Watershed, East Boulder, and Greater Red Lodge timber sales in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest in Montana.

The Forest Service proposed clearcutting over 5,000 acres and bulldozing over 41 miles of new logging roads in lynx critical habitat with just these four timber sales, which is why they were challenged in court. The harsh reality, undeniably proven by all the best available science, is that more logging leads to less lynx. If we’re going to protect critical habitat and actually recover lynx as required by the Endangered Species Act, it’s time to say no more road building and clearcuts in lynx critical habitat.

Furthermore, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals only ordered clearcutting to be stopped in lynx critical habitat in Region One, not in Regions Four and Two as Tester and Daines claim. Our senators also fail to mention that the Forest Service already re-initiated consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service last November to comply with the Court Order, and assured the Court it would be done in a few months, thus completely mooting Tester’s and Daines’ “the sky is falling” scare tactic.

Americans deserve facts on public policy issues, not D.C. lies. That means Pinocchio Senators Tester and Daines must stop deceiving us with their “alternative facts” and start telling the truth.

Mike Garrity is the executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail