Daines Introduces Bill to Promote Collaboration in Montana Forest Management Projects

U.S. SENATE– U.S. Senator Steve Daines today reintroduced the “Protect Collaboration for Healthier Forests Act” to protect much needed and collaboratively-developed forest management projects that reduce the risk of wildfire in our National Forests from court room obstructionists.

“Commonsense forest management projects are too often tied up in lengthy and expensive court room battles by the same fringe environmental groups whose goal is to obstruct these projects, not follow the science or local decisions,” Daines said. “We need to be doing everything we can to support projects that will help us better manage our forests and minimize the risk of devastating wildfires like we’re seeing across Montana right now.”

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 collaboratively developed forest projects. Litigation against forest management projects frequently take many years to resolve. Pilot arbitration authority would bring swifter resolution to disputed projects.

Daines is a leader in the U.S. Senate on many forest management issues. To learn more about his forestry work, click HERE.

Statements of Support:

“Active management of our forests can significantly improve habitat for elk and other wildlife while also reducing fire risks. Unfortunately, many of our forests remain susceptible to insects, disease and wildfire because of lawsuits seeking to stop all management. RMEF supports arbitration to move projects out of the courtroom and into the hands of stakeholders. We see arbitration as an innovative way to turn down the temperature on conflict and restore collaboration and solutions to our forest management policy.”—Kyle Weaver, President & CEO, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 

“Diverse stakeholders from across Montana partner with the Forest Service to develop forest restoration projects intended to thin overstocked forests, reduce wildfire risk to local communities, and make our forests more resilient to climate change. All too often, anti-forestry activist groups file lawsuits with the sole purpose of delaying and obstructing these collaborative projects, which only puts Montana’s forests and communities at greater risk. We support Senator Steve Daines’ Protect Collaboration for Healthy Forests Act, which would establish a regional pilot utilizing arbitration to break the endless cycle of serial litigation.” – Travis Joseph, President/CEO, American Forest Resource Council.

Idaho Forest Group is supportive of Senator Daines’ pilot proposal to offer binding arbitration as an alternative to litigation.  In 2021, researchers at the University of Idaho, published findings that quantified the benefits of collaboration with local stakeholder groups in managing the National Forests.  This pilot effort seeks to encourage greater collaboration, while limiting the impact of litigious efforts that threaten the ability of the Forest Service to improve forest health and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire across the nation’s forests.”—Idaho Forest Group 


Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler