In a press release issued by Senator Steve Daines, he challenged the head of the U.S. Forest Service, Tom Tidwell this week to reverse a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that negatively impacts forest health, recreation and wildlife habitat.
“We can’t get logs to the mills – it’s a sad, sad state of affairs and it is because of these extreme environmental groups who are litigating many of our sales that we have right now in Montana,” Daines stated. “We aren’t taking care of the forest – then we see them burn. We can reduce the wildfire risk, as we know, by actively managing our forests. I have introduced legislation to statutorily reverse the disastrous Ninth Circuit Court decision in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center vs. U.S. Forest Service. According to the Obama Administration, this decision has the ‘potential to cripple’ federal land management across Ninth Circuit states. Citing the Cottonwood decision, courts have already halted four forest health projects in Montana.”
Tidwell endorsed the legislation. “Senator, first of all, thank you for your work here, bipartisan work, with Senator Tester to introduce that legislation. Yes, we support that and we need your help on this. It would be one thing if we just needed to reinitiate consultation – we’d be glad to be able to do that. Our folks are working through that now, but the way this court decision came down – is it creates a continuous procedural loop and so they were never done.”
Daines also pressed Tidwell on the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program and the need to pass reforms to restore active management to provide much needed revenue for forested counties.