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Re: “Talking it out

That public meeting that Alex references was attended by 150 people and the Missoulian endorsed the Blackfoot Clearwater Project afterward. That project became part of Tester's bill AFTER an extensive public vetting. Here's the Missoulian editorial way back then:

Missoulian Editorial Board
Monday, May 11, 2009

Last week, about 150 people attended an informative meeting in Missoula about the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Project, essentially a legislative proposal that would guide the future of the upper Blackfoot Valley.

Much like the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership, the BCSP has brought together an array of local interests - including conservationists, private businesses and landowners - to hammer out a plan that has something in it for everyone. The plan, as currently envisioned, contains economic, recreational and conservation benefits, detailed in a three-part approach. The first part, which centers on stewardship contracting, would provide the Seeley Lake Ranger District of the Lolo National Forest with funding for 10 years so the district can afford the tools and manpower it would need to oversee restoration activities in the national forest and in the Blackfoot Community Conservation Area.

The second part would promote a $4.5 million public-private partnership with Pyramid Mountain Lumber in Seeley Lake to build a new biomass renewable energy facility. And the third part involves designating 87,000 acres of the Bob Marshall-Scapegoat and Mission Mountains as permanently protected wilderness, while also linking existing snowmobile trails in the area.

Supporters of the BCSP estimate its implementation would create 45 to 50 new jobs and more than $1 million a year in new wages, while also helping to stabilize the future of a small, family-owned sawmill in Seeley Lake.

The three-part plan is the result of discussions that guiding members of the project have been having for several years now. And over the years, as the BCSP has rolled into a more solid proposal, it has continued picking up more members and supporters - including the Missoula County Board of Commissioners, the Missoula Area Economic Development Corporation and the Montana Community Development Corporation, to name but a few.

You can add the Missoulian to this long list, too. However, we recognize that ultimately, what this project needs in order to become a reality is for as many Montana residents as possible to convey their support for the project to our congressional delegates, and urge them to shepherd the legislation through Congress.

Posted by Zahnie on 03/04/2010 at 5:13 PM

Re: “Stop sideline sniping

Great letter, Brian. There's a big difference between people who voice criticisms in the context of their overall support for Senator Tester's bill and those who voice their criticisms in an effort to kill Tester's bill. The first want to see more Wilderness designated and more work get done. They want to work with Tester to improve this bill and get it passed. The others are committed to defending the status quo and hoping for something better some day. That's not enough certainty for most Montanans. I'm glad to see three letters in the Indy this week supporting a proactive approach and backing a great bill.

Posted by Zahnie on 03/04/2010 at 5:09 PM

Re: “Sportsman for Tester

Nice letter from a veteran of the timber wars and a former USFS employee. The Lolo/Kootenai Accords brought together eveyone, from union workers in Bonner to environmentalists in Helena to horsemen in the Flathead. Tester's bill echoes that admirable effort and it is clearly making progress. Sec. of Ag. Tom Vilsack's recently announced visit to Montana is an excellent sign that the USDA is taking Tester's forest bill very seriously and wants to work with Tester to make it happen. Here's the link:…

Posted by Zahnie on 03/04/2010 at 5:00 PM

Re: “Unnecessary tinkering

Rehberg is the "do nothing" politician. Obsessed with process and totally ineffective when it comes to an actual product. Great letter.

Posted by Zahnie on 02/25/2010 at 2:26 PM

Re: “Follow Tester’s lead

Nice to see some actual facts. Great letter, Emma.

Posted by Zahnie on 02/25/2010 at 2:24 PM

Re: “Logjam

My goodness. Is this what it's come to? Is the Indy really an echo chamber where the resident experts are Tom Powers and Mathew Koehler? How about Tom Tidwell, the current chief of the Forest Service and Dale Bosworth, the former chief of the Forest Service. Both are Missoulians. Both have a very different view of the bill that Harris Sherman and much better understanding of Montana's forests. Both have praised Tester's efforts.

Posted by Zahnie on 02/11/2010 at 11:02 AM

Re: “Tester taken to task

Walden apparently knows a lot more about these issues than Marilyn Olsen. The bill is focused on mechanical treatment and a range of restoration activities, not just commercial logging. The bill advances stewardship principles that take into account much more than the bottom line. As for Ochenski, the '88 isn't nearly as good on balance when compared to the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. However, I'm not surprised that Ochenski used that as an example of the good ol' days because he's stuck in the past, a mythical past apparently. He's an old activist and lobbyist from the times of the timber wars. He's high on rhetoric and painfully low on ideas. I'm sure glad he's a columnist and not a policy maker.

Posted by Zahnie on 02/11/2010 at 10:05 AM

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