Sen. Jon Tester is selling his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (see "Etc.," Oct. 29, 2009) with the refrain that it's a "made-in-Montana plan that honors Montana values and traditions." The problem is, these are federal lands belonging to all Americans. One senator and a self-selected handful of his constituents have decided on their own to scrap seven federal Wilderness Study Areas, open federal roadless land and weaken America's National Wilderness Preservation System with "unique provisions" that set damaging precedents. "It's a new way of doing business," he tells us.
I attended Tester's recent open house and regret that I didn't show up with my own sign: "No thank you, Senator Tester. Honor the made-in-America Wilderness Act." While I applaud him for attempting to end the stalemate, weakening wilderness protection for future generations is just a bad way of doing business.