Judging by the civil and substantive discussion and considerable support from Montanans for the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, it may well be one of the most relevant and timely pieces of natural resource legislation to grace our great state in a very long time.
Rightfully, there have been concerns raised about certain aspects of the bill. Fortunately, Sen. Tester and his staff are thoughtfully addressing and exploring all suggestions. When the Forest Service raised questions last December about mandates for mechanical treatment of timber, Tester and his staff went to work to address those questions. A few months later, the Secretary of Agriculture, who oversees the Forest Service, came to Montana to give Tester’s bill his vote of confidence.
Personally, I have been heartened by recent clarifications that these mechanical treatments will be focused in heavily roaded areas and that projects will preclude any new permanent roads. I’m glad that others—including the Forest Service—are also getting more comfort as the process continues.
I support continued discussion on the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act and I look forward to its passage and implementation.
Michele K. Reinhart
House District 97