Tester to Senate: ‘Montana is buzzing with excitement’ about Forest Jobs Bill

Senator pitches his made-in-Montana plan to colleagues during speech

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Noting that hundreds of Montanans have already signed up as citizen cosponsors of his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, Senator Jon Tester today told his colleagues “Montana is buzzing with excitement” about the bill.

Tester highlighted his new legislation during a speech on the Senate floor, saying it will create forest and timber-related jobs, protect clean water and safeguard some of Montana’s best hunting and fishing habitat for future generations.

“This bill won’t just help restore our forests and their watersheds, it will help restore our communities,” Tester said today.

Tester based the legislation on proposals brought to him by Montanans from different walks of life who worked together for years on a plan to better manage Montana’s forests.  Tester wrote the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act after seeking additional input from many other Montanans, including ATV riders, bikers, outfitters, snowmobilers and ranchers.

“It’s a new day when motorized users, timber mill owners, backcountry horsemen, hunters, fishermen and conservationists all agree that it’s time to put aside differences for the sake of the forest—and for the sake of our communities,” Tester said.  “It will put people back to work in the woods—harvesting trees, rolling up roads, building bigger culverts for fish and tackling stream restoration projects.”

Tester’s bill requires at least 100,000 acres of timber harvest over ten years in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Kootenai National Forests, with a focus on protecting communities from wildfire.  It also creates new recreation areas and sets aside thousands of acres of prime hunting and fishing habitat for future generations.

Tester also updated his website, tester.senate.gov/forest, with pictures from his recent meetings with Montanans about the legislation. At the website, Montanans can read the legislation, see a map, send feedback, and sign up as citizen cosponsors of the bill.

The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is  S. 1470.  The legislation will now go to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.