Daines Advances Slate of Montana Priorities

U.S. SENATE — As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Senator Steve Daines today advanced five bills benefiting Montana including legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), provide Montana communities with clean drinking water, permanently protect the Paradise Valley and Gardiner Basin from mining, and restore national parks’ aging infrastructure. Daines was instrumental in ensuring these bills advanced in the Committee.

Daines issued the following video statement on the five bills that impact Montana:

MT priorities

Watch HERE

Download HERE

Daines will continue pushing these bills through the legislative process and will work with his colleagues to get them to the Senate floor and on to the president’s desk.

Summary of Bills:

Daines’ Bipartisan Protect Collaboration for Healthier Forests Act, S. 2160:

  • Today, there are 28 timber sales under litigation in Montana, 21 of which are enjoined, preventing work on over 17,000 acres.
  • Daines’ bill establishes a pilot arbitration program authorizing the U.S. Forest Service to use binding arbitration in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming as an alternative dispute resolution process for certain forest restoration projects.
  • The bill will help improve the health of national forests and revitalize the timber industry.
  • During the meeting, there was lively debate on the bill, which ended with a bipartisan vote including Senator Manchin (W.V). Click HERE to watch the debate on this bill.
  • Daines also announced that the U.S. Forest Service officially endorsed his bill. 
  • Daines’ bill has received significant stakeholder support from Montana Wood Products Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Flathead County Commissioner Pamela Holmquist, Montana Coalition of Forested Counties, Boone & Crockett Club, Mule Deer Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ruffed Grouse Society, Mineral County Commissioners, National Association of Forest Service Retirees, Idaho Forest Group, American Forest Resource Council, Federal Forest Resource Coalition and the Montana Logging Association.
  • Click HERE for statements of support and HERE for support letter.

Daines’ Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act, S. 569:

  • Daines’ bill permanently reauthorizes and requires full, mandatory funding of LWCF.
  • Daines has consistently worked in a bipartisan fashion to permanently reauthorize LWCF.
  • In addition to sponsoring this legislation, Daines met with stakeholders in August showcasing support for the fund, and took to the Senate floor with Senators Burr and Gardner in September to urge his colleagues to get the legislation across the finish line.
  • Daines’ bill includes stakeholder support from Montana Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, the Stimson Lumber Company, and the Conservation Fund.
  • Click HERE for statements of support.

Daines’ Clean Water for Rural Communities Act, S. 685:

  • Today, there are communities in Montana where people lack access to clean drinking water.
  • Daines’ bill impacts two Bureau of Reclamation rural water projects critical to Montana: the Musselshell-Judith Rural Water System and the Dry-Redwater Regional Water Authority System.
  • The bill authorizes the Musselshell-Judith Rural Water System, which will facilitate water treatment and delivery to more than 4,500 Montanans in portions of Judith Basin, Wheatland, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Fergus, and Yellowstone Counties.
  • The bill authorizes the Dry-Redwater Regional Water Authority System to continue working with the Bureau of Reclamation to complete their feasibility study.
  • Daines’ bill has received stakeholder support including from Dry-Redwater Regional Water Authority Coordinator Mandi Nay and Central Montana Regional Water Authority Project Administrator Monty Sealey.
  • Click HERE for statements of support. 

Daines’ Restore Our Parks Act, S. 3172:

  • With increased visitation of national parks across the country, park infrastructure has inevitably experienced wear and tear.
  • Today, there is an $11.6 billion maintenance backlog facing national parks across the nation, including nearly $220 million in Montana’s national parks with Glacier National Park impacted the most.
  • Daines’ bill dedicates energy revenues to restore the aging infrastructure at national parks.
  • The bill has significant support including from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce and the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce. 
  • Click HERE for statements of support. 

Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, S. 941:  

  • This bill permanently withdraws approximately 30,000 acres of the Custer Gallatin National Forest from mineral entry in the Paradise Valley and Gardiner Basin. Daines has urged the withdrawal given strong local support.
  • Daines has actively worked with the administration to ensure the mineral withdrawal.
  • Click HERE for statements of support.