As someone who supported Sen. Jon Tester in 2006, I expected him to keep his campaign promise to protect all remaining roadless lands in Montana. I expected him to strive for open government processes when considering the fate of the wildest parts of the Last Best Place. I expected him to treat fellow Montanan, Matthew Koehler, who testified at a hearing on his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, with civility and respect. I expected him to reach out to the grassroots on both sides of the timber wars who have fought the longest and hardest.
That would have been true collaboration rather than the cooked-up mishmash of motorized recreation, military landings, misplaced logging and some wilderness crumbs thrown in to satisfy Big Green's foundation funders. A piecemeal approach to wilderness designation is unacceptable and I ask Tester to hammer out a real bill that deals with the full complement of Montana's 6 million acres eligible for future wilderness designation.
This bill will not solve the real ecological problems facing our forests nor will it save the timber industry. Logging 70,000 acres of dry roadless forests on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and 30,000 acres in core grizzly habitat on the Kootenai isn't sustainable. This was pointed out to Tester by Agriculture Undersecretary Harris Sherman at the Senate hearing. Supply side economics via mandated logging is a bad idea in this timber market.
Tester's bill does a disservice to former President Clinton's Roadless Area Conservation Rule, the Wilderness Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management Act—all of which embody the best efforts of citizens in Montana and around the country standing up for not just our roadless wildlands, but for the all important doctrine of the public trust. I expected you to do better.