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The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act is popular with everyone but Daines

| November 16, 2021 7:00 AM

To the editor:

The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act is popular, and for good reason. Over 70 percent of Montanans support the bill because they understand that forestlands, and the headwaters within those lands in particular, need protection.

In that 30 percent, however, one is able to find U.S. Sen. Steve Daines. Standing against the majority, he, in the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining offered a somewhat confusing deal: If U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and company want to add around 80,000 acres to our state’s public lands, specifically the Bob Marshall, then it is contingent on Daines and company getting to remove 300,000 acres or so elsewhere. It is all well documented in a recently published article from The Missoulian by Rob Chaney published just yesterday.

The fact is that while Daines is framing this as putting the BCSA in a “broader package of legislation,” he is really meaning to say “I want my own bill passed, even if less than 10 percent of Montanans support it, and this is as much of a compromise as I am willing to accept.”

It is a weird and selfish way of removing protections from land that Montanans want protected. Let’s not allow Daines to swindle us like that. We must see what he is doing for what it is and fight it.

Patrick Berzsenyi

Missoula