Matthew Koehler 
Member since Jul 27, 2009

click to enlarge 15534_1274331221743_1333801108_769059_143760_n_jpg-magnum.jpg


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: “A washed-out road sharpens concerns about a Bitterroot timber project

This article and the photo shows what that road maintenance backlog looks like on-the-ground following a somewhat modest rain storm.

Keep in mind that as of 2004, the U.S. Forest Service had a $10 BILLION road maintenance backlog across America's National Forests. The National Forests in Montana has, as of 2004, a total road maintenance backlog of $670 million. In the 13 years since this report (…) was produced the road maintenance backlog on America's National Forests has only gotten worse. Yet, Congress still refuses the fund the U.S. Forest Service to address this maintenance backlog.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 06/22/2017 at 10:22 AM

Re: “Letters to the Editor

Thanks to Sen Sue Malek for voting against HJ 9 and speaking out in support of Montana's Wilderness Study Areas.

It's worth remembering that Senator Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act which was supported by the Montana Dem Party and groups like Montana Wilderness Association, would have fully released these Wilderness Study Areas for logging, motorized recreation and/or development:

Axolotl Lakes Wilderness Study Area
Bell and Limekiln Canyons Wilderness Study Area
Henneberry Ridge Wilderness Study Area
Hidden Pasture Wilderness Study Area

Tester's FJRA also would have released a portion of the following Wilderness Study Areas for logging, motorized recreation and/or development:

Blacktail Mountains Wilderness Study Area
Centennial Mountains Wilderness Study Area
Farlin Creek Wilderness Study Area
Humbug Spires Wilderness Study Area
Ruby Mountains Wilderness Study Area
Sapphire Wilderness Study Area
West Pioneer Wilderness Study Area

For certain, I wish these facts weren't true, but anyone who actually took time to read through Senator Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act knows the truth about this.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 05/04/2017 at 8:44 AM

Re: “Wilderness advocates settle in for the long game

Here is some more information.

Senator Senator Jon Tester's (D-MT) Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act of 2017 represents a continued effort to shift management of National Forest System lands away from full public involvement towards local control by private collaborative groups.

Check out this analysis of Tester's bill commissioned by the Flathead-Lolo-Bitterroot Citizen Task Force and written by Mike Bader:

Also, this oped from WildWest Institute's Jake Kreilick and SGM (Ret) Mike Jarnevic, a 42-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army Special Forces, may also be of interest to people:…

Finally, if people would like to see all the remaining roadless areas in Montana and the northern Rockies protected as Wilderness, they should support the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA), which was just re-introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House.

Here's more information, and a NREPA action alert, from Wilderness Watch:…

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 04/27/2017 at 2:04 PM

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

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