Steve Daines Opposes Any Montana-Crafted Forest Bills, Prefers Big Government Bad Policy

Representative Steve Daines
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For someone who likes to suggest he’s opposed to federal decision-making and

Representative Steve Daines
Representative Steve Daines

in favor of more state control over resources, it’s certainly interesting to see Representative Steve Daines writing a letter to House Speaker John Boehner opposing state-specific solutions to managing wilderness and logging on public lands.

Mike Dennison summarizes the crux of the letter:

The July 11 letter, signed last week by Daines and 28 other Republican House members, asks House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to block state-specific bills to increase timber production, because the signers prefer a bill addressing the problem nationwide.

That’s right. Rather than working to help Senator Tester shape and pass a bill that has broad-based support in Montana’s environmental and logging communities, Representative Daines is backing a dead-end, one-size-fits all proposal that has almost no chance of passage and even less chance of meeting the needs of Montana. The self-appointed of “Less Government, More Jobs” is so much more interested in playing politics than governing that he’s proposing a big government solution that will hurt Montana jobs and threaten our wilderness areas.

And that’s not even the most craven thing about the Daines letter. Despite not having the integrity to communicate concerns or work with Senator Tester on his bill, Daines lacked the courage to even inform his Montana colleague.

Even worse, he won’t even tell the truth to the Montana press or public, suggesting that he “he hasn’t taken a position” on Tester’s bill. That’s right. Despite Tester having introduced the bill, the single most important piece of wilderness legislation in the state, in 2009, Representative Daines wants the people of Montana to believe that he hasn’t decided if he supports it or not.

His letter to Speaker Boehner makes it clear that’s simply not true, that Daines is nothing more than a legislative obstructionist, more interested in being able to using logging for politics than someone honestly involved in crafting a solution. The alternative that he really hasn’t made up his mind? Not even Dennis Rehberg was that incompetent or overmatched for the needs of the House.

Since Representative Daines won’t work for a workable compromise developed by Montana stakeholders, he should at least have the courage to admit it. I wouldn’t wait for that.

As a final note, this latest round of discussion about Montana’s wilderness has led predictably to  a very narrow minority of the Montana conservation community continuing its obsessive focus on attacking Senator Tester’s balanced bill, inexplicably giving a free pass to Representative Daines, who has signed off on a Republican proposal that will “timber bill that would require every national forest to designate an area for logging, with annual timber harvest targets.” The Daines-supported bill will also make legal challenges to timber harvests far more difficult, and put the interests of the timber industry far ahead of the interests of protecting wild spaces. Montanans interested in supporting wilderness and public spaces should probably give their support to organizations that are more interested working to ensure our tradition of wild spaces and public access than groups more interested in waging war against everyone but the real enemy.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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IlikewoodsnamelessrangedpogrebaMatthewKoehlerMarkTokarski Recent comment authors
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MarkTokarski
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MarkTokarski

Whether wielded by a Republican or a Democrat, an ax makes the same sound as it hits a tree: “Hack!”

MatthewKoehler
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MatthewKoehler

Thanks, Don, for the link to my Twitter account. If anyone actually bothers to scroll through all my tweets I’m pretty sure they will see that I have NOT – in any way, shape or form – “giving a free pass to Representative Daines” on the issue of mandated public lands logging and national forest management.  The fact of the matter, which Don choses to ignore, is that over the past year I’ve posted dozens and dozens of tweets, blog posts and on-line newspaper comments blasting Rep Daines for his so-called “Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Community Act.”   So, in… Read more »

dpogreba
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MatthewKoehler Yes, that post about the Republican forest bill from last October is real evidence that you’ve been holding his feet to the fire.

Go get em!

MatthewKoehler
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MatthewKoehler

dpogreba  Anyone reading these comments will see clearly that above I wrote: “The fact of the matter, which Don choses to ignore, is that over the past year I’ve posted dozens and dozens of tweets, blog posts and on-line newspaper comments blasting Rep Daines for his so-called “Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Community Act.”” In response to that statement of fact, Don Pogreba decides to focus – not on the dozens and dozens of tweets, blog posts and on-line newspaper comments I’ve written blasting Daines – but on ONE specific blog post I wrote.  You see, Don wants to focus on… Read more »

MarkTokarski
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MarkTokarski

MatthewKoehler dpogreba Matt, I have to disagree on your “Democrat = Bad, Republican = Worse idea. Without regard to the relative merits of the bills, the Democrats present a far more insidious challenge to our forests because they are perceived to be less bad than the Republicans. Tester, for instance, brought in a bunch of bought collaborators to act as window dressing for his FJRA. Don refers to them as “the environmental community,” which is why Democrats are insidious – they will slowly undo decades of hard work by real conservationists because they are perceived as “less bad.” . I prefer… Read more »

namelessrange
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namelessrange

MarkTokarski 
Mark. You’re delusional.
I disagree with mandated logging, but at its worst, the FJRA mandated 10,000 acres per year for ten years,  of logging on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.
The Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF is 3.3 million acres in size. Multiply 10,000 x 10. You get 100,000 acres, or roughly 3% of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge.
Oh the Humanity.
On the other hand you have individuals in the Republican Party who vocally oppose the existence of public lands. And who vocally want to sell them off.
You tell me who is more insidious. There is a correct answer.

MatthewKoehler
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MatthewKoehler

Hello http://www.livefyre.com/profile/46608793/:  I’d like to offer up a (not so) quick correction regarding the actual logging mandates in Tester’s FJRA. The following info is taken directly from the latest version of the bill, as found directly on Sen Tester’s website. As you can see, the mandated logging part of the bill has been altered. It now currently reads: “on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, a minimum of 5,000 acres annually until the date on which a total of 70,000 acres in the National Forest have been placed under contract; and  on the Kootenai National Forest— 2,000 acres during the first year after… Read more »

Ilikewoods
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Ilikewoods

namelessrange MarkTokarski were talking 2% of industry in Montana. While I believe we need a plan for the beetle blight… yesterday…

The fact is and always will be that. we need to preserve the trees and forests for our water supply to stay clean.

While I like Testers bills more than others.It still has gaping holes in it. But I will take it before any bill the republicans serve up to the Koch Brothers and ALEC!

MarkTokarski
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MarkTokarski

namelessrange MarkTokarski So typical is it of debate tactics to pick out one small part of a large debate and frame the entire debate around it that there must be a name for it! Is it taught? In a private memo somewhere?  Tester turned on us as soon as elected, uncloaked, and lo and behold, we had another timber lobby guy on our hands. There’s far more to this bill than mandated logging of 130,000 acres of wildlife habitat. You know this as well as I do. There was the closed-door deliberations, the selection of collaborative groups that had been taken… Read more »

namelessrange
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namelessrange

MarkTokarski  Mark. You are the one who equated the two and brought up FJRA. I merely reference the actual bill’s consequences, which aren’t nearly as severe as the Republican’s wish-list. There are things I don’t like about the bill, but you must realize. NREPA is dead. We will never have large blocks of wilderness created again. Wilderness designations will be small or complimentary.The best we will do are similar to what are in Tester’s Bill: Recreation Management Areas. As I’ve said before, the wilderness movement is dead because it shuts out a large part of the “green” contingent – that being… Read more »

Ilikewoods
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Ilikewoods

MarkTokarski Only a hack like You would Equate Pluto to Mars? Cuz they are both planets and ergo like every other Argument you open your mouth up for….. YOUR WRONG.

Ilikewoods
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Ilikewoods

MarkTokarski Markie Toke you have been smoking too much out of the Colorado dispensaries …..A man who cared for Montana SOOOOO much he moved from it to Colorado 7 years ago.  So outta of touch nowadays he doesn’t even realize most Montanans have been united about our view and forests since we defeated MSTI. You don’t know the Nuances of Montana anymore, you just read the headlines on the web…. give it up Mark, worry about your state of Colorado and how all that fracking throughout the state. will turn it into a cesspool in ten years. Nowhere is there… Read more »

namelessrange
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namelessrange

@MatthewKoehler Matthew, it took a while to get back to you, but you posed a couple interesting questions. According the the National Land Cover Dataset, which is a summary provided by the USGS of different land cover types in the U.S. When clipped by the boundaries of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, we find that the BDNF contains 2,484,306 acres of forested land. That’s roughly 75% of the BDNF. Far greater than 20%. Within the BDNF Forest Plan, logging can occur on 1.9 million acres within the forest – those areas outside of Wilderness and Inventoried Roadless. As you well know, much of Wilderness is… Read more »

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