Forest Jobs Bill picks up steam with more than 1,000 ‘citizen cosponsors’

Montanans from nearly every county sign up to support new jobs, forest management

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – More than 1,000 Montanans from nearly every county in the state have signed up as ‘citizen cosponsors’ of the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, Senator Jon Tester announced today.

Tester introduced the bill in July, asking Montanans to “put their shoulders to the wheel” to push the bill forward with their support.  So far, 1,020 Montanans from 54 counties have signed up as citizen cosponsors at:

“Folks in Montana understand that our forest communities are in crisis, and the old ways of making decisions about our forests have failed,” Tester said.  “This bill is a made-in-Montana plan.  It’s a new way of moving forward to protect our communities from wildfire, put folks back to work in the woods, and preserve our hunting and fishing heritage for our kids and grandkids.”

The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act will create jobs by requiring 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.  The bill will promote forest health by harvesting dead and dying trees infested by pine bark beetles and by cleaning up Montana’s forest streams.  It also will create new recreation areas and safeguard prime hunting and fishing areas for future generations.

The bill is based on proposals by Montanans from different walks of life including loggers, conservationists, hunters and anglers who worked together for years on a plan to better manage Montana’s forests.  Tester introduced the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act after seeking additional input from many other Montanans, including ATV riders, bikers, outfitters, snowmobilers and ranchers.

In a speech on the Senate floor in July, Tester highlighted his legislation, S. 1470, telling his colleagues that Montanans “are willing to do our part to help wisely manage and protect these lands.  Now it’s time for Congress step up to the plate and do its part.”

Tester today urged Montanans to continue visiting, where they can read the legislation, see maps, send Tester feedback and sign up as citizen co-sponsors.