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Letter: Tester shows courage with Forest Jobs bill

| July 23, 2009 12:00 AM

Dear Editor:

Political courage is a rare commodity these days, especially since our electronic media has made it easy to instantly castigate decisions that blur the lines between right and left.

But Sen. Jon Tester has accomplished quite a feat with his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, which promises to end decades of acrimony by recognizing the collaborative efforts of environmentalists, the timber industry, businesspeople and motorized recreationists.

Throughout Montana over the last several years, these folks managed to put aside long-standing animosities and made meaningful compromises – all in an effort to end the paralysis concerning the proper makeup and use of our public lands.

And now Sen. Tester has recognized this hard work and has introduced legislation to make it a reality, fully knowing that opponents are at this moment lining up to attack his bill. Some will say that it’s a sellout to the timber industry; others will say it offers but a pittance to jumpstart local economies.

But know this: Tester is showing Montanans the essence of leadership, cutting across the political aisle to heal old wounds and to put the state on a new course that has an eye toward the past, but is much more interested in the future. He should be commended for that.

Andrew Duffin, board chair, Yaak Valley Forest Council, Troy