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Comment Archives: stories: Blogs: Letters to the Editor

Re: “Big hunk of pork

Montana senator twice gets his facts wrong on timber sales and litigation
By Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post's Fact Checker

Full article at:

The Facts

According to Tom Martin, a Forest Service deputy director for renewable resource management, there are 97 timber sales under contract in Montana’s national forests. Of that number, just 14 have active litigation, so about 14 percent. But only four of the sales are enjoined by a court from any logging….

The Pinocchio Test

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. Four Pinocchios

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 03/05/2015 at 12:17 PM

Re: “Lost in translation

Myra, repeat after me - S. A. R. C. A. S. M.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Cascarrabias on 03/01/2015 at 3:03 PM

Re: “Lip service and lies

I wish I could believe that the politicos and "conservation" orgs who spread the Big Lie or any of the thousand little related lies would change their tune once they know the facts, but the facts have been there all along and they didn't bother to fact check. I am sorry to say I would bet their behavior will not change at all. They know what they know because it has been repeated so many times and they will not let actual facts get in the way. Varying forms of this lie goes back a long time. Remember "analysis paralysis"? The timber supply was supposedly tied up by appeals. Professor Martin Nye at UM actually looked at the facts and saw that appeals had a very minimal impact on timber supply.
And the bottom line is that appeals or litigation do not often stop timber sales. Only when a proposed timber sale does not follow the law can a sale be stopped, and then it is often modified to stay within the law, if possible, and reoffered.

Posted by Larry Campbell on 02/28/2015 at 10:51 AM

Re: “Lip service and lies

Thanks Keith for an excellent recap of this very clear threat to America's public lands legacy.

For more details exposing Senator Tester's lie concerning his MT Public Radio Statement that: "Every logging sale in Montana right now is under litigation. Every one of them."

Please see below where the Washington Post's Fact-Checker just awarded Senator Tester the maximum 4 Pinocchios for telling a 'whopper' about public lands logging and lawsuits. (

Turns out that when a reporter actually look into the issue that there are 97 current timber sales on national forest lands in Montana and just 4 timber sales are stopped because of litigation. 4% ≠ 100% Senator Tester.

Of course, this could just as easily be a FACT CHECK on the entire Montana political, media and environmental establishment.

Sure this Fact-Check is about Tester's 'whopper' of a lie, but Daines and Zinke, Gov Bullock, the Montana timber industry, Montana Wilderness Association, Montana Wildlife Federation and practically the entire Montana News Media (with a few notable exceptions) also repeat these same lies and untruths, and have for years. Do people seriously not do their own independent verification anymore?

It will be very, very interesting to see what the Montana News Media does with this information, as well as how it informs and impacts Daines and Tester's efforts to dramatically increase public lands timber sales in Montana under the entirely false premise that lawsuits prevent the Forest Service from doing anything. So far, the statewide Lee Bureau reporter actually somehow managed to write an article about the Washington Post's fact-check of Senator Tester without 1) printing any of the actual facts uncovered by the Washington Post and 2) reprinting entirely incorrect information from Senator Tester. No wonder the public has a hard time understanding what's really a pretty basic issue.

And what about groups like Montana Wilderness Association, Montana/National Wildlife Federation, The Wilderness Society Montana Trout Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Boone and Crockett Club? Will they too acknowledge these facts and stop spreading false information as they too work with politicians and the timber industry to greatly increase public lands logging?

Stay Tuned...

Montana senator twice gets his facts wrong on timber sales and litigation
By Glenn Kessler, Washington Post Fact Checker

“Unfortunately, every logging sale in Montana right now is under litigation. Every one of them.” – Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), interview with Montana Public Radio, Feb. 18, 2015

Our inbox started flowing with e-mails from outraged residents of Montana shortly after Montana Public Radio ran an interview in which Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) asserted that “every logging sale” in the state was “under litigation.” The complaints also reached the radio station, as within a day, Tester’s staff offered a revised statement that focused on “volume” rather than sales. Marnee Banks, his spokeswoman, apologized for the original statement, but Tester himself made no comment.

But when we asked Tester’s staff for evidence to back up the revised statement, they simply directed us to the U.S. Forest Service, rather than explain the data themselves. It’s taken a few days to unravel the numbers, but this is a case of apples and oranges, with a few limes thrown in.

The Pinocchio Test

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. Four Pinocchios

Full Story:

Posted by Matthew Koehler on 02/28/2015 at 8:34 AM

Re: “Deny the deniers

Naomi Klein, bahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahha....

Posted by OPUS on 02/23/2015 at 8:40 PM

Re: “In the dark

i agree 2000% on the net metering thing, but most people don't know about the laws, don't participate in government at all, heck, most people don't even bother voting, so the problem is we have to go back to the drawing board and teach our kids and people that democracy is not a spectator sport, and that if they will not act to protect their rights and the planet, etc. there are those that are acting to take them away. it's a pretty sad state of affairs, part of the well oiled and highly successful governmental 'dummying down' program at it's finest.

Posted by Victoria Hickock on 02/23/2015 at 3:17 PM

Re: “Costly alternative

it's ridiculous since everyone who's anyone knows that all those nonindian so-called land owners are holding void title to their lands which were illegally stolen long ago, the only question i have is why hasn't the tribal councils and congress acted on this well known knowledge long before now?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Victoria Hickock on 02/23/2015 at 3:09 PM

Re: “Bad sports

Quit whining Debby - there's no doubt that experienced hunters who have spent years hunting an area know when game populations are down. Of course you being a non-hunter (I assume) understand very little about the issue. All you've got is your emotional opposition to hunting. Get over it - hunters are not going away.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Pachistima on 01/17/2015 at 3:56 PM

Re: “In defense of trapping

And according to Paul Fielder's logic, if you don't like abuse of children, don't abuse them, but let others do what has been done for ages... goodness

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Florencegal on 01/07/2015 at 8:51 AM

Re: “Selfish desire

And now we have a coyote and wolf killing contest promoted by "hunters" in Sanders County. Hey, if you think killing is fun recreation imagine the thrill of mass killing. When it comes to hunting food I can accept that hunting is OK if done with respect. When I see random shooting into a massed herd of elk, there is no respect. I liken it to the difference between making love with respect and gang rape. The proposed killing contest is gang rape as a public spectacle. How degraded and debauched will our culture get? The downward curve is steep, with no bottom in sight.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Larry Campbell on 12/31/2014 at 10:23 AM

Re: “Selfish desire

"King-size coyote fur comforter: Price vs. cost":…

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Other Nations on 12/26/2014 at 2:28 PM

Re: “Deeply outraged

this video game massacre is killing and wounding animals for no reason but blood lust. Why isn't FWP cracking down on this violence toward animals? They can't even say it's unethical. Who will?

Posted by trapland on 12/20/2014 at 7:36 PM

Re: “Deeply outraged

The answer is NOT to open up more private land to killing more elk but to impose strict and heavy penalties on those who kill wildlife for fun and recreation. What is "ethical" killing of animals anyway? where is the "fair chase" when the animal victims are not armed too? This nonsense of "ethical sportsman" and "fair chase" is just a pathetic smokescreen for those who want to kill unsuspecting animals, beings who just like us, are trying to carve out a living. Seriously, think about it: What is "fair" about killing wild (or domestic for that matter) animals?

Posted by Florencegal on 12/19/2014 at 9:06 PM

Re: “Deeply outraged

ethical hunters share your disgust with this episode of SLOB HUNTING. it is not indicative to the majority of the hunting public. one of the answers to this problem is indeed, opening up more hunting access on private land. finding a place to hunt is the biggest problem facing hunting today. too often access to public lands is through private land corridors. and these corridors are becoming more scarce. non hunting landowners close off these accesses, sometimes legally sometimes illegally. the SLOB hunter then becomes the "road hunter". the slob hunter will never be eradicated, but the effects of massive groups of game herded up by vehicles will be drastically curtailed as they will keep dispersed about in public and private hunting areas.

Posted by Paul Middleton on 12/18/2014 at 4:35 PM

Re: “Nature bats last

What they didn't tell you about the public lands riders

By Steve Charter.

Mr. Charter ranches over coal that would be traded by the public lands proposal, and is the chair of Billings-based Northern Plains Resource Council.


When U.S. Rep. Steve Daines and Sens. John Walsh and Jon Tester were celebrating the public lands package they sneaked into a defense bill, I wonder if they thought about the landowners and taxpayers they threw under the bus by doing it.

Their package transfers valuable coal under my family's ranch and our neighbors in the Bull Mountains to Great Northern Properties, a mega-corporation spun off from the railroad years ago, in exchange for other coal in southeastern Montana. Great Northern Properties gets a windfall by giving up low-quality coal that will almost certainly never be mined and gains high-quality coal next to mines with a high likelihood of development. It's like trading a trailer house for a mansion.


Some Context on the Public Lands Riders: Losses Far Outweigh Any Wins 

By Matthew Koehler


Bottom Line: This public lands package attached as a rider to an unrelated National Defense Authorization Act will mean more public lands grazing, mining, oil and gas development and logging…and less public input, less protection for wildlife species and less science-based management overall.

There are a total of 6,397,000 unprotected Wilderness-eligible roadless acres in Montana. This public lands rider would protect only 67,000 acres in Montana as Wilderness, or just 1% of the total Wilderness-eligible roadless acres in Montana.

Nationally, the number of Wilderness acres protected in this bill is even more pitiful. This ‘historic’ 449 page-long Public Lands rider attached to the National Defense Authorization Act would protect a whopping 0.2% of all remaining Wilderness-eligible roadless acres in the United States. Nothing says “Happy 50th Birthday Wilderness Act” than boldly protecting 0.2% of what remains, right?


Top 5 Offensive Provisions of the Public Lands Rider
By Anne Hedges, MEIC…

Once again wild land advocates rightfully want to protect wonderful wild lands but they are willing to give up far too much. There are just too many awful provisions lurking in the shadows of this deal that is being inappropriately slipped it into a must-pass defense spending bill.

Great Northern Properties gets its grubby hands on 112 million tons of coal adjacent to the Signal Peak mine. Two Wilderness Study Areas near Otter Creek will lose their designation as such and 14,000 acres of wilderness study areas in eastern Montana near the CMR National Wildlife Refuge will likely lose that designation from oil and gas development. Once again, eastern Montana lands are being sacrificed for protections in the western half of the state.


Take Action! Help Oppose Bad Public Lands Package

The National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) set for a Senate vote this week contains language that will forever change the West. Renewal of many grazing permits would be exempted from public oversight and environmental review by being tucked in with a sprawling public lands package, undermining the already inadequate public lands grazing management performed by federal agencies

It cannot be overstated: the new laws would mean that the BLM and Forest Service must continue status quo grazing regardless of the environmental laws being violated until the agencies have sufficient funding (or inclination) to do otherwise.  


47 Public Lands, Wilderness & Environmental Groups Blast Riders in Defense Bill

A coalition of 47 public lands, Wilderness and environmental organizations from across the country have issued a letter to all members of the U.S. Senate demanding the removal of damaging public land “riders” that have been added to the Defense Authorization Bill, which passed the U.S. House last week and now awaits action in the Lame Duck senate.

The riders includes several controversial and harmful public land proposals, including an exchange of National Forest land to a foreign-owned mining company seeking to operate a mine on land sacred to the Apache, a giveaway of 70,000 acres on Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to Sealaska Corporation, notorious for its scorched-earth logging practices, and a stealth provision that removes protections from two Wilderness Study Areas in eastern Montana. The bill also contains numerous public land conveyances as well as Wilderness bills with special provisions allowing helicopter use and habitat manipulation.

The coalition of 47 organizations is calling on the Senate to remove the riders from the Defense Bill. Some proposals thrown into the mix would gain the groups’ strong support as stand-alone legislation, but the bill’s numerous “poison pills” mean that too high a price would be paid for a few conservation gains.


Save Sacred Native American & Public Lands from Huge Copper Mine

In a highly controversial move last week, the US House of Representatives buried the Oak Flat land exchange deep in the House version of the NDAA. For 10 years, the land exchange has failed to be become law for very good reasons:

It is the only bill before the US Congress that would give a Native American Sacred site on public land to a foreign mining company – Rio Tinto – that also co-owns a uranium mine with the Iranian Government.

Posted by Matthew Koehler on 12/11/2014 at 7:24 AM

Re: “By the numbers

The numbers are both fascinating and troubling. Some have explained the low turnout on Walsh pulling out, but I wonder and would be fascinated to see some research on why the turnout continues to decline. We seem to live in an age where people really do feel their vote doesn't matter, either that or they are too busy playing Candy Crush to care.

Posted by John O'Connor on 12/03/2014 at 3:52 PM

Re: “Not just a local issue

How refreshing that Megan writes a letter which is not abrasive but seeks a dialog for concerned climbing enthusiast and those who wish to protect public and private lands. So often opinion letters to the editor are single minded and poorly thought out. This blog is well written and Megan truly cares about the issue. Dealing with the forestry departments and any type of Government body will be frustrating and long term endeavor. M.K.

Posted by Mark Kersting on 11/18/2014 at 8:15 AM

Re: “Not just a local issue

The transition from climbing gym ethics/mentality to outdoor, shared public land ethics/mentality has not been a smooth one for some 'sport' climbers. It's a shame that self-policing by climbers was not enough by itself to rein in the excesses and lack, by some, of outdoor, public land leave-no-trace ethics. When community climbers and non-climbers got involved the mean-spirited 'shoot the messenger' tactic was turned (by some) onto the non (or former) and local traditional climbers to try to discredit and marginalize people who did not want to see the proliferation of unplanned, unauthorized 'projects' constructed on public land with very little consideration of neighbors or other forest users, let alone the fledgling eagle trying to grow feathers to be able to move out of the area since climbers had staked their claim next to its home. The contrast between 'traditional', normally scrupulously ethical climbers and too many 'sport' climbers is very evident. Now, instigated by concerned community residents, the effort to eliminate or mitigate damage at Mill Creek and to develope a forest-wide climbing management plan is receiving at least lip service by the 'sport' climbers and the presumed land managers, the Bitterroot National Forest. After great trial and tribulation the Forest Service has finally indicated they will act on their public trust responsibilities and take some first steps beyond lip service. What they propose is essentially closing one barn door after the horse has bolted. However, other barn doors are wide open and left to self-policing by the very same people who saw but failed to police the Mill Creek media advertised 'sport' climbing 'project' fiasco. Nobody, especially climbers, likes regulation, but when public interests get trampled thoughtlessly regulation is appropriate and expected from land managers who are well paid to protect the land and related public interests. I hope the perpetrators of the Mill Creek 'project' can show leadership and ethics by moving forward without the personal attacks on the messengers that have been launched. Megan's letter stating, " We need to promote increased education and awareness within the climbing community, especially as the sport’s popularity grows and more climbers than ever are transitioning from the gym to the outdoors.", is a good start.

Posted by Larry Campbell on 11/17/2014 at 8:48 AM

Re: “Let's play

Maybe we'll get the YES votes to pay a user fee to pay for this increase in our property tax. Missoula is becoming a city of the have's and have not's because of these tax increases. Can you afford to live here?

Posted by David on 11/13/2014 at 11:29 PM

Re: “Pro parks and trails

Thanks, John. All of us who live here benefit from recreation spaces paid for by those who lived here previous - its time to kick in and do out bit. I'll be voting yes for parks and trails on Nov. 4.

Posted by bkwheelersback on 10/23/2014 at 7:05 PM

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