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Daines should support Montana land plans

2014-08-03T00:00:00Z 2014-08-04T11:59:09Z Daines should support Montana land plans The Billings Gazette
August 03, 2014 12:00 am

It's strange that someone who campaigns on finding "Montana-made" solutions is so eager to destroy them. But I guess that when Steve Daines talks about locally-grown ideas, the local he has in mind is D.C., not Montana.

Daines is taking a page out of another Republican Senate candidate's playbook. Conrad Burns convinced President Reagan to veto a Montana Wilderness bill that had been passed by Congress in order for him to get elected. You can see how well that worked out. Over the last 20 years, thousands of Montana timber industry jobs have been lost due to the fact that the wilderness issue has not been settled.

Now take Daines' reaction to Sen. Tester's bipartisan Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. Tester's bill is a piece of public lands policy written with input from our loggers, conservationists and sportsmen. This bill has been worked on for years by Montanans and makes sense for both our logging jobs and wild places. It seems like it should be a no-brainer for Daines, but he actually told his party leaders to kill the legislation for coming from Montanans and not the Republican Senatorial Re-election Committee. Instead, he is pushing a half-baked bill that brings back antiquated clear-cutting practices that won't work and we don't support.

Daines also hasn't come out in support of the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act. This is another home-grown wilderness solution, and Daines just sat on the sidelines. I thought he was sent to D.C. to get things done that we here at home want? I guess if it's not something that benefits Daines, he just isn't interested. The only job that Daines wants to create is his.

Mel Lockridge

Missoula

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