Tester’s Forest Bill to Get Senate Committee Vote

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — A bill by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester to expand wilderness and mandate more logging on Montana federal lands will receive its first vote Thursday, more than four years after it was introduced.

The vote scheduled by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is a first step in the passage of the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. If the committee approves it, the measure will go to the full Senate.

Tester introduced the bill during his first term in 2009, touting it as a compromise between environmentalists and loggers. It stalled last year amid partisan differences and a heated re-election campaign by the Montana Democrat.

The proposal would designate hundreds of thousands of acres of new wilderness, plus set aside areas for logging and recreational use, such as snowmobiling.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.