Tester announces progress on Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act

by NBC Montana, Sonji Milburn

MISSOULA, Mont. – After announcing the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act in February 2017, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester says progress has been made. So far two-thirds of 512 Montanans polled support the act.

The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act received a hearing in the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resource Committee. It is still in committee and has not been passed out of committee.

The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act protects thousands of acres of public land, strengthens Montana’s outdoor economy and creates job opportunities.

In a conference call Tester said the act is a perfect example of what happens when Montanans work together. He also says it delivers on a promise that residents will benefit from.

“A promise to protect 79,000 acres of land for future generations. A promise to open up more than 2,000 acres to snowmobiling, protect mountain biking on almost 4,000 acres and protect hiking, hunting and fishing,” Tester said. “A promise for better trails for motorized and nonmotorized users and a promise to honor Montana’s timber industry.”

Tester addressed those opposed to the bill and says some residents believe they should have a say into how land is managed but that does not work.

“This is not the early 1900s, we are in the 21st century. Now, people live there and we need to manage it. In a way that’s what this bill would mean to come of these communities,” Tester said.

Tester and supporters are making efforts to get the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act pushed out of committee. He says it will take an act of Congress to get it passed next.

If the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act does not get passed, then nothing happens.

“If nothing happens, nothing happens. The management does not take place, and the destinations don’t take place, and we don’t step forward economically for towns like Seeley Lake,” Tester said.