FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Senator Tester Must Stop Playing Politics With Public Lands

Canadian lynx. Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Northern Rockies Ecosystem is unique. Our wildlands support all the fish and wildlife species present when Lewis & Clark passed through. This abundant resource is what sustains a five-week hunting season, angling for native trout and unparalleled opportunities for solitude. It is the foundation for Montana’s $7 billion dollar outdoor industry, attracting visitors by the millions.

This national treasure is anchored by our roadless areas. Numerous scientific studies have found roadless areas provide the best habitat for elk, the best water quality, and most secure habitat for threatened species including grizzly bear, bull trout and lynx.

Unfortunately, Senator Jon Tester’s Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act would permanently diminish this resource. Most notably, Tester’s bill would cut the Monture roadless area in half, dedicating the center to snowmobile and mountain bike play areas within an important part of the Bob Marshall country.

Poet Maya Angelou said, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.” The collaborationist supporters who wrote the bill drape themselves in conservation but show a different agenda. Loren Rose, Chief Operating Officer of Pyramid Mountain Lumber Company and a leader of the collaborationists said, “Everyone who collaborates does so with the expectation they will get something out of it. We got logs on trucks. Our conservation partners got very little out of this Southwest Crown of the Continent work.” Tester’s own electronic propaganda states timber first.

No less alarming, the bill usurps the Forest Service planning process and gives it to a small handful of self-selected people, the “collaborators” who wrote the bill. It also includes a process called “categorical exclusion” whereby timber sales up to 3,000 acres do not have to go through full environmental analysis and public involvement. Public challenges based on environmental concerns are blocked. In a plan to string together several such sales, the collaborators have conspired to limit public involvement and environmental laws on tens of thousands of acres of public lands on the Lolo National Forest. This is wrong and fundamentally undemocratic.

The National Forest Management Act does not have a fill in the blank section to “provide a steady supply of timber to Pyramid Mountain Lumber Company,” or any other company or individual. We can be sympathetic to the fate of the small logger while acknowledging there is no obligation for our National Forests to guarantee continued employment or profit to anyone.

Nor are the collaborators politically astute. This is the worst time to advance legislation. The naïve and gullible are enabling politicians to play election year games with our national roadless resource. Elections are for election season, the land is for all of time.

By contrast, the gold standard for fish and wildlife conservation is the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, S.936 and H.R.2135. This citizen plan is inspired by conservation biology, bestowing the protection our region richly deserves and which our fish, wildlife and regional economy depend upon. Rather than further fragmenting and isolating our wildlife habitat and roadless areas, it would work to reconnect them, employing people with good jobs in the process.

The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act has gained the endorsements of leading scientists, including the late Dr. John J. Craighead, legendary grizzly bear scientist and naturalist, who testified before Congress.

It’s time for Senator Tester to announce he’s keeping election year politics out of the public lands debate. Our public lands don’t deserve to be political pawns. If reelected, it’s his responsibility to roll up his sleeves to meet and listen to all interested parties, not just those who agree with him. The Northern Rockies, and the American people, deserve no less.

Mike Bader is an independent consultant in Missoula. He was centrally involved in crafting The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act and he authored a professional analysis of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act.

Mike Garrity is Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild Rockies in Helena.

November 15, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Ukania: the Land Where the Queen’s Son Has His Shoelaces Ironed by His Valet
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Spraying Poisons, Chasing Ghosts
Anthony DiMaggio
In the Wake of the Blue Wave: the Midterms, Recounts, and the Future of Progressive Politics
Christopher Ketcham
Build in a Fire Plain, Get What You Deserve
Meena Miriam Yust
Today It’s Treasure Island, Tomorrow Your Neighborhood Store: Could Local Currencies Help?
Karl Grossman
Climate of Rage
Walter Clemens
How Two Demagogues Inspired Their Followers
Brandon Lee
Radical Idealism: Jesus and the Radical Tradition
Kim C. Domenico
An Anarchist Uprising Against the Liberal Ego
Elliot Sperber
Pythagoras in Queens
November 14, 2018
Charles Pierson
Unstoppable: The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and NAFTA
Sam Bahour
Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take
Cesar Chelala
How a Bad Environment Impacts Children’s Health
George Ochenski
What Tester’s Win Means
Louisa Willcox
Saving Romania’s Brown Bears, Sharing Lessons About Coxistence, Conservation
George Wuerthner
Alternatives to Wilderness?
Robert Fisk
Izzeldin Abuelaish’s Three Daughters were Killed in Gaza, But He Still Clings to Hope for the Middle East
Dennis Morgan
For What?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Government is Our Teacher
Bill Martin
The Trump Experiment: Liberals and Leftists Unhinged and Around the Bend
Rivera Sun
After the Vote: An Essay of the Man from the North
Jamie McConnell
Allowing Asbestos to Continue Killing
Thomas Knapp
Talkin’ Jim Acosta Hard Pass Blues: Is White House Press Access a Constitutional Right?
Bill Glahn
Snow Day
November 13, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways
Victor Grossman
Germany on a Political Seesaw
Cillian Doyle
Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank
Lauren Smith
Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary
Joe Emersberger
Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador
Carol Dansereau
Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity
Dave Lindorff
Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time
Dan Corjescu
Poetry and Barbarism: Adorno’s Challenge
Patrick Bond
Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg
Ed Meek
The Kavanaugh Hearings: Text and Subtext
Binoy Kampmark
Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power
November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail