In February, Congressman Denny Rehberg announced that in 2012 he would be seeking Senator Jon Tester’s seat in the U.S. Senate. While Tester is actively working to prevent post office closures all over rural Montana, striving to help these communities maintain essential services as well as a sense of identity in an uncertain future, Denny Rehberg is playing politics with the public lands of Montana.
With his eye on the Senate seat, Rehberg has sought blockage of Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, bipartisan legislation that allows greater latitude for timber harvests, designates substantial tracts of land as protected wilderness and facilitates effective public lands management through local stakeholder involvement. The FJRA without question will lead to a more localized and responsive form of management of public lands.
Instead, Rehberg has decided to rally behind HR1505, legislation which endows the Department of Homeland Security with the authority to control all federal lands within 100 miles of the United States border. The bill would allow bureaucrats exempt from judicial review to make decisions regarding some of this state’s public treasures, like Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. This contradicts not only Rehberg’s stated philosophies of reducing the scope of government, but also flies in the face of the stated wishes of his constituents. Let him know.