Tester criticizes House’s approval of ‘federal land grab’ bill

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee passed the unpopular National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act (HR 1505). Comparing the legislation to REAL ID and the Patriot Act, Tester has joined numerous Montanans in criticizing the legislation as a “federal land grab” that gives the federal government total authority to make top-down decisions about land within 100 miles of Montana’s northern border with Canada.

“Count me among the Montanans who have serious problems with this bill. But like the Patriot Act and REAL ID, this one can’t be fixed. It needs to be scrapped altogether because no matter how you spin it, it gives the Department of Homeland Security total control over the land we all use. It was a bad bill that should not have been supported before, and it’s a bad bill now.”

Montanans have criticized the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act for weeks.

Under the current version, the public would still be shut out of decision-making on federal lands. It could allow timber sales to be stopped, buildings to be built in Glacier National Park, and roads to be built in the Bob Marshall, all without a say from the public.

Tester, Montana’s only member of the Homeland Security Committee and chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, is a consistent opponent of REAL ID and the Patriot Act.

Last month, Tester told the Great Falls Tribune that the legislation “gives one federal department the ability to run roughshod over the rights of law-abiding Americans and seize vast swaths of land we all own and use—with no public accountability.”

“This nation is very capable of fighting terrorism without turning into a government police state, but that’s exactly what this unpopular plan would do,” Tester added.