U.S. CONGRESS —U.S. Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Matt Rosendale today sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service urging the agencies to address the Cottonwood decision that hurts Montana timber jobs and forest management projects in Montana and across the country.
“The proposed rule will allow land managers and wildlife biologists to follow the best-available science for consultation. It will remove an ambiguity in current regulations that have led to more lawsuits than conservation work. This rule is critical to improve the health of Montana’s forest, advance wildlife and restoration projects, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, and support Montana timber jobs. We respectfully urge you to maintain the position of the past two Administrations and finalize this rule,” the letter states.
Read the full letter HERE.
The rulemaking will allow forest managers to return to relying on the best available science for management decisions, not arbitrary requirements set by activist judges. This will help improve the health of Montana’s forests, advance wildlife and restoration projects, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and support Montana timber jobs.
The Cottonwood decision created a new standard for re-consultation on Forest Plans when a species was listed, critical habitat designated, or ‘new information’ was made available, contradicting previous court decisions and crippling Montana’s timber jobs in the process. The U.S. Forest Service under both the Obama and Trump Administrations disagreed with the Cottonwood decision, which has led to dozens of projects delayed or obstructed.
Last Congress, Senator Daines introduced a bill that would address the challenges stemming from the Cottonwood decision that created a new standard for re-consultation on Forest Plans when ‘new information’ is made available.
In 2017, Senator Daines introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to reverse the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. U.S. Forest Service.
One of Representative Rosendale’s first statements was in support of the proposed Cottonwood revisions to the Endangered Species Act under the Trump Administration.