LETTER: Protecting the North Fork

By Beacon Staff

There’s something liberating about slipping a raft into a river in Western Montana. We are fortunate to have so many clean, free-flowing rivers nearby to enjoy with friends and family. And in my mind, few rivers can match the North Fork Flathead River. Other rivers may have more thrilling whitewater or more fish per river mile, but few match the North Fork for clean, beautiful water and stunning, wild scenery.

Montana’s congressional delegation happens to agree with me on this point. Sens. John Walsh, Jon Tester and Rep. Steve Daines are all supporters of the North Fork Watershed Protection Act. For this reason, it is especially maddening to read news that the bill is being blocked in the Senate by three senators who – in the memorable words of Tester – “can’t even find the Flathead River on a map.”

Imagine, three Republican senators from Texas, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania blocking a piece of legislation that only affects Montana and is very popular here. This is a perfect example of a broken Congress is because of politicians who only know how to say no. Is that the only word they understand?

Montana’s clean water is invaluable. You can’t put a price on it. If we want to protect it then that should be our business. I hope Daines will reach out to his fellow Republicans in the Senate and tell them that Montanans know what’s best for Montana. We know the North Fork Flathead River is wild, scenic and crystal clear. It should be protected as it is, and Sens. Coburn, Cruz, and Toomey have no business telling us otherwise.

Mollie Kieran

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