HELENA — U.S. Sen. Max Baucus is telling the postmaster general that he should visit rural Montana post offices before making any decisions to close some of them.

The U.S. Postal Service recently announced that it is closing three mail processing facilities in the state, perhaps leading to a net loss of 11 jobs in the state. The agency says cuts are needed to meet budget demands exacerbated by a 25 percent decline in mail volume since 2006.

It is now looking at closing small-town post offices that it considers to be underutilized.

Baucus argues the closures will not create the kind of long-term cost savings sought, and will harm delivery standards.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Rep. Denny Rehberg have also been critical of the cost-cutting moves to close post offices.

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