What’s up with our Montana U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and this bill he has introduced called “Protect Public Use of Public Lands Act?” What a misleading title. These half million or so acres of public land are currently protected through the 1977 Montana Wilderness Study Act put into place by our past Sen. Lee Metcalf. What Mr. Daines’ bill does is unprotect your land. No more quiet hikes where all you hear or see is nature at her best. This so-called protection of public use of public lands removes actual protection and allows all kinds of noisy and disruptive action and possible development.
What about letting the public decide? This bill comes from the top down. We have no say. That’s not how we Montanans work. Our elected officials do not pass bills without our okay. Public opinion should be at the forefront.
What about Sen. Jon Tester’s Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act, which has been in the making for at least 10 years? It has had public comment with 74 percent of Montanans in favor. It puts folks to work cleaning up our forests, maintaining recreation, and protecting some of our land.
What about the fact that we are the fourth largest state in size and only the seventh in number of acres protected? Idaho ranks 24th in size and is third in number acres protected. We really need these study areas to remain public and protected as they currently are. Our state is so beautiful and we all know that tourism is our number one industry. These fabulous protected lands are what bring prosperity to our most wonderful Montana.
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