Tester proposes bill to stop MT post office closures


by Mark Holyoak

WASHINGTON DC – Senator Jon Tester introduced legislation to prevent the U.S. Postal Service from closing operations in some rural Montana communities.

"In Montana and across rural America, post offices define communities and serve as lifelines to the rest of the world-providing everything from important communication and correspondence to medication," said Tester. "If post offices are shut down, entire communities will lose their identities and many of them will disappear."

In an effort to save money, the Postal Service may close 3,700 post offices across the country, including 85 in Montana. Of those Montana post offices, 54 have no alternate post office within ten miles.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahue recently promised Senators to provide a list of postal facilities kept open after going through the public comment process, but he is yet to release that information.

"The lack of response leads many of our constituents to question if their views and concerns are truly taken into account during this process," Tester and his colleagues wrote. "The public comment process should provide more than the opportunity for input; it must lead to a full and fair consideration, with the real potential that positive outcomes can arise from the process."

Tester's bill is cosponsored by Senators from Alaska, Kansas and Oregon.