Opinion

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Letter

Daines is Feeding a Rush to Judgment Regarding Our Forests

He succeeded in alienating those who have worked tirelessly to safeguard the ecological values within our forests

Sen. Steve Daines recently fed anger into his self-hosted “Tele Town Hall” meetings, repeating vocalized attacks on “environmental extremists” for this unfortunate fire season, also blaming them for loss of lives and health issues.

Besides being hypocritical, coming from a man who voted to deprive health insurance for millions, the “Tele Town Hall” was a poor substitute for a true face-to- face town hall meeting.

He succeeded in alienating those who have worked tirelessly to safeguard the ecological values within our forests. Only one allowed Montana citizen mentioned climate change as partly to blame. There was no mention that the imprints of past logging practices are healing across our mountainous landscapes as biodiversity recovers.

Mr. Daines’ claim “we do not clearcut anymore” cannot be trusted as the forest industry will need federal subsidies to leave large trees and shrink the extent of a high-intensity fire crown forest, created largely by past unsustainable forest management practices. Funding could eventually come out of money now spent fighting fires given proof that “responsibly treating the forest” even works!

In times of budget deficits, hurricanes and proposed tax cuts, Mr. Daines claims can only be taken as disingenuous. Consider the motivation behind the Lake County “initiative” to manage 60,000 acres of public land. How can a single Montana county afford to do it right in light of our fiscal problems? Mr. Daines, host a real face-to-face town hall meeting instead of a soliloquy where questions are pre-screened and cherry-picked to support your destructive natural resource agenda.

Peter C. Guynn
Condon

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