Tester’s Wilderness Bill Gets Hearing

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s plan to both create more wilderness and mandate more logging is going to get a Senate hearing.

The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests will look at the “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act” on Dec. 17.

Tester says the hearing is an important step, but cautioned the measure still faces a long road.

The plan would add 600,000 acres of Montana wilderness — while sacrificing a very small percentage of motorized areas and trails.

Criticism has come from ardent wilderness advocates who want less logging — and from the opposite side, which doesn’t like all the new wilderness the bill creates. Supporters say each component is needed to find enough political support for the bill.