Matthew Koehler 
Member since Jul 27, 2009

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Is going to shine some light on Senator Tester's bill:

Updated on December 16, 2009 at 5:38 PM



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I grew up in the rural Wisconsin village of Elkhart Lake, in Sheboygan County, surrounded by dairy farms and the Kettle Moraine State Forest. I've… More »

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Re: “Did Ryan Zinke go AWOL?

Thanks to the Missoula Indy for speaking out about this.

I called Rep Ryan Zinke's DC office on February 10 and asked them why Rep Ryan Zinke has not cast any votes in Congress in over a month.

I was told point blank by Zinke's office, "The Trump Administration has advised us not to vote."

The Montana news media has been made aware that Rep Ryan Zinke has not been voting in Congress for at least the past two weeks. They also were alerted to the fact that Zinke's office said that Zinke wasn't voting because Trump told him not to.

It's amazing to me that, except for this Indy piece, nobody in the Montana news media has found the fact that our only 'representative' in Congress isn't voting at all, to be newsworthy.

Hopefully more reporters in Montana look into this situation and hold Rep Ryan Zinke accountable.

15 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 02/16/2017 at 9:05 AM

Re: “The Forest Service just reached a settlement that could end that whole megaload debate

Great news and a huge congratulations to groups who took part in the lawsuit and the many activists and organizations that worked on this issue.

Hopefully one of the lessons here is that when politicians, or government agencies, fail to reign in corporate power, that the American people can still seek redress in the federal court system.

Not only is this important to remember in the era of President Trump, but it's also important to remember in an era where some conservation groups are much more interested in 'collaborating' with the timber industry, oil and gas industry, etc, while at the same time complaining about lawsuits or actually lobbying for legislation that effectively closes the courthouse doors on the American people.

Again, Congrats to all the people and groups who made this victory agains the mega-loads possible!

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 01/30/2017 at 11:50 AM

Re: “Here's what Ryan Zinke committed to at his confirmation hearing

I continue to believe that being against the transfer or sale of federal public lands might be the lowest of low bar to hope that Zinke would step over. Hard to tell what his position on the matter really is, especially in the context that Trump is establishing the most anti-public lands, anti-environmental administration in history. The Trump Administration is essentially going to be a government for and by Big Oil, and Zinke will fit right in, especially considering he raked in $350,000 in oil, gas and fracking campaign contributions in just a couple of years.

Has anyone ever heard Ryan Zinke speak in favor of the Endangered Species Act? Has he ever once voted to better fund the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is charged with overseeing ESA issue? Has he voted many times to gut the ESA? Yes.

It's not like Zinke's 3% VOTING record with the League of Conservation voters came out of thin air. And it's not like LCV is some far left group, they are pretty mainstream. Also, he earned an "F" 9% rating from the National Parks Conservation Association, again, a very middle-of-the road group. These voting records were earned based on actual votes, not on some rhetoric or statement.

Oh, yes, but Zinke really likes Teddy Roosevelt. He brought up Teddy at least as many times during his hearing as he brought up being a former Navy Seal. I saw a blog post yesterday in which someone said that if you look honestly at Zinke's real voting record on the 'conservation spectrum' you will find that he is much more closely aligned with someone like Rob Bishop then he's aligned with Teddy Roosevelt.

Groups such as Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (both of whom get Trump money and have, perhaps as a result, seen huge increases in their budgets the past few years) would do well to stop pushing this "Zinke is Teddy reincarnated" BS and be more truthful and straightforward with the American people.

America's public lands, wildlife and wilderness legacy is at threat folks, and if anyone thinks Zinke, and his future boss President Trump, are going to protect (rather than exploit) that legacy is just being delusional.

Here's another good read about the hearing that Indy readers may be interested in.

Media normalizes climate science denial of Trump nominee for Interior Secretary

Now youre a hero if you dont imply that the worlds top scientists and governments are conspiring to deceive everyone


3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 01/19/2017 at 11:52 AM

Re: “Tester turns to crowdsourcing for cabinet confirmation questions

And that includes Congressman Ryan Zinke, who was considered a possible Tester challenger in 2018 before being nominated in December to lead the Department of Interior.

"I told Ryan he's going to be put through the same process as everyone else," Tester says. "Personally, I think he'll do fine. But if he doesn't answer our questions satisfactorily, we'll have a problem."


So, on the first day of Congress, Rep Ryan Zinke voted with the House GOP majority to make it easier to sell off, and give away, America's federal public lands. Seems like a strange vote for the Interior Secretary nominee to cast, eh?

Yesterday, Tester responded and called the House vote "an underhanded assault on Montana's outdoor economy, our hunting heritage, and our way of life.'' Tester went on to say, "Public lands belong to all Americans and Congress should be safeguarding them, not clearing the way to auction them off to the highest bidder. I ask all those who care about our public lands to join me in demanding more public access, not more attacks on our public lands, from their representatives in the House."

Those are good comments, but as with know and Edward Abbey said "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul."

So, if Senator Jon Tester is really committed to #KeepItPublic he must take a strong stance and when Ryan Zinke's nomination to serve as Trump's Secretary of Interior comes to the floor of the Senate, Tester must vote no.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 01/05/2017 at 9:40 AM

Re: “Cyclists carve a win out of wilderness

This "Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project" is a 'collaboration' between local (mainly recreation) interests and the timber industry, and it's not exactly been open, inclusive and transparent. Who in the BCSP is speaking up for wildlife or endangered species? Are their scientists involved? Are Montana or American citizens who want all roadless areas, or all recommended Wilderness areas, encouraged to participate? Would their opinions as equal owners of America's federal public lands be welcomed. Nope, not really.

Can other Montana citizens, and the American people who are equally owners of these NATIONAL forest lands actually read the specific text of a bill the BCSP folks want Montana's delegation to pass? We hear lots of rhetoric and sound bites, but the public doesn't appear to really have a seat at the table of this inside game being played by the BCSP people.

For example, look at this big 'deal' that's been announced. So the Montana Wilderness Association met privately with the International Mountain Bicycling Association. MWA agreed to give up 3,000 acres that the U.S. Forest Service (through an open, inclusive and transparent public process) established as recommended Wilderness. These 3000 acres of recommended Wilderness are also in prime habitat for grizzly bears and other keystone species. Well, was that recommended Wilderness area on OUR public lands even MWA's to give away and compromise? No it was not.

And honestly, could there perhaps be any downsides to trying to pass a Wilderness and logging bill in light of the GOP-controlled Congress and an incoming President Donald Trump, who has clearly indicated that he's putting together the most anti-environmental cabinet and administration in history?

Once again, I must remind people that America's public lands, wildlife and Wilderness legacy is under attack and being compromised away right before our eyes by groups and special interests with deep pockets and political connections. Pay attention and get active folks!

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 12/23/2016 at 8:06 AM

Re: “With news of Zinke's Interior nomination now official, here's a look at the reactions from across Montana this week

Here's also some of the most well-respected, mainstream environmental groups in America are saying.



NRDC: Zinkes Record Falls Far Short and Adds to Trumps Fossil Fuel Cabinet:

The Wilderness Society says "Trump Interior Nominee Ryan Zinke Raises Serious Concerns:"…

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 12/15/2016 at 2:46 PM

Re: “Westside project barrels ahead

Thanks to the Missoula Indy for continued coverage of this issue.

For whatever it's worth, here's more information about what Ryan Domsalla, West Fork District Ranger of the Bitterroot National Forest, said at the Western Governors National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative meeting in Missoula on September 21, 2016 about the Westside Collaborative Vegetation Project, collaboration and the Bitterroot Restoration Committee.

"This [the Westside Collaborative Vegetation Project] was one of the governors Forests in Focus Initiative Projects. We received about $136,900 for this. That particular (state) money was able to expedite the project as well as make it a priority for the Bitterroot National Forest..The expedited nature of the project. definitely curtailed the time that we had to do some collaboration with some adjacent landowners as well as with some of our stakeholders and user groups. You know, like I said, it didnt allow us a lot of time to establish that trust, that communication that is necessary for truly honest and open collaboration. Certainly we worked with the State of Montana DNRC to move forward with much of the project prior to actually making the decision, which I think expedited things. But honest and truly I think we can do better there.

The Bitterroot Restoration Committee actually works on a census basis. And have to admit my observation would be on this particular project, as well as on certain other issues I dont believe that theyve met that consensus at this point in time.

- Ryan Domsalla, West Fork District Ranger of the Bitterroot National Forest

Anyone can verify these official statements from a Bitterroot National Forest official by watching the actual panel from the WGA meeting here:…

It should also be pointed out that apparently Wayne Hedman, chair of the Bitterroot Restoration Committee, had prevented a fellow Bitterroot Restoration Committee member from sharing this video and Ranger Ryan Domsallas comments with the rest of the Bitterroot Restoration Committee members earlier this fall. Why do you suppose that would be?

Posted by Matthew Koehler on 12/01/2016 at 9:51 AM

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