A win for the gipper?


Though there has been widespread praise in some quarters, I find it difficult to muster much enthusiasm for Sen. Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act described in "Taking Control of the Machine" (HCN, 7/20/09). Perhaps a historical anecdote will help explain.

In 1988, both houses of Congress passed a Montana wilderness bill that protected 1.4 million acres. However, a coalition of mining, agricultural, ranching and timber groups convinced President Reagan to veto the legislation. Reagan stated at the time that he wanted to put only half of that acreage into permanent wilderness status.

Unfortunately, Tester's legislation basically grants Reagan's wish –– protecting less than 700,000 acres. Not only that, but most of the forest designated as wilderness doesn't need protection from logging anyway, since it largely consists of high elevation, low value trees. Furthermore, Tester's bill opens up to logging many roadless areas that are presently protected.

It's sad to consider how far backwards we have come. Some may be smiling –– including our anti-wilderness former president –– but don't count me among them.
Jim Rogers
Polson, Montana

Tester's Logging Bill and HCN's Coverage
Sep 14, 2009 08:53 AM

Thanks for expressing your views about Tester's logging bill here at HCN. Unfortunately, HCN's coverage of Tester's logging bill has been less than complete and far from fair and balanced. Ray Ring's feature (as well as the editors intro) a few months ago left out critical information, glossed over concerns and in general left a lot to be desired. HCN readers deserve better than this. Thanks.
Conerns with Tester's Logging Bill
Nov 02, 2009 03:26 PM
For those readers interested in a detailed analysis of Sen. Tester's bill from one of the nation's leading experts on natural resource policy and law, I'd highly recommend they check out Dr. Martin Nie's piece at Headwaters News titled, "Questions, opportunities presented by Montana Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act."

It's available at: http://www.headwatersnews.org/p.ForestJobsAct092809.html

It would certainly be nice if Sen. Tester and supporters of his bill would address these important questions, which have actually been asked (yet ignored) for months.

As Dr. Nie says in his conclusion, "The above questions are not driven by politics. Nor are they asked with the purpose of trying to defeat the Senator's bill or to criticize his courageous entry into Montana wilderness politics. They are meant instead to get the public thinking about the big picture and how the parts are going to fit or not fit together. The stakes are high. If the FJRA becomes law, place-based proposals throughout the West will take a big step forward. The FJRA would be the first one out of the gate, setting precedent for others, and this is reason enough why it must be scrutinized so carefully."