Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Hearing scheduled to name peak after local conservationist

About a week after Montana’s congressional delegation requested it, the bill to name a Madison Range peak after a prominent conservationist who died earlier this year will have a U.S. Senate committee hearing next week.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing on the Alex Diekmann Designation Act of 2016 next Thursday. The bill would name an unnamed peak in the Madison range after Alex Diekmann, who worked for 16 years as a project manager for the Trust for Public Land.

Diekmann, who was 52, died of cancer earlier this year. For the Trust for Public Land, Diekmann negotiated land swaps and conservation easements across the West, working on more than 55 projects covering more than 100,000 acres.

Diekmann’s former coworkers started the push for naming the peak in his honor last spring. Conservation groups, local governments and individuals signed onto the effort, and the three members of Montana’s congressional delegation introduced bills in both the House and Senate to make it happen in July.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke and Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines sent a letter to the chairs of the appropriate House and Senate committees asking for a hearing on the bills they introduced to name the mountain. On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources announced that the bill would be heard along with about 20 others next week.

Alan Front, a lobbyist and longtime friend of Diekmann’s, said the hearing was a good sign.

A hearing is the next step in the legislative process. After that, the bill can be sent to the Senate floor either on its own or as an amendment to a larger piece of legislation. Front said it opens the doors for procedural shortcuts as well.