Tester, Baucus renew fight to protect North Fork

Senators continue to suport tourism jobs, public access and permanent protection of North Fork of the Flathead

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus reintroduced legislation today to permanently protect the American side of the North Fork watershed from new oil and gas development and mining. The North Fork Watershed Protection Act of 2012 does not impede timber production, hunting or fishing and continues to have the broad support of Montana businesses and conservation groups.

“There are few places on earth like the North Fork when it comes to hunting, fishing, hiking and camping,” Tester said. “Outdoor recreation supports businesses and creates jobs, but Montanans understand that protecting these areas is about more than just dollars and cents. It’s about setting aside places where we can pass on our Montana values to our kids and our grandkids, and I’ll keep fighting to protect areas like the North Fork that make Montana a special place to live and work.”

“Wild pristine places like the North Fork drive our economy, attract tourists and make Montana a great place to live, work and raise a family. There’s no place on earth quite like the North Fork and it’s our duty to make sure our kids and grandkids can enjoy it,” said Baucus.

For nearly 40 years, Baucus has been a steady and strong voice to protect the North Fork of the Flathead River, beginning with his successful 1975 proposal to designate the Flathead as a Wild and Scenic River. To date, Tester and Baucus have successfully negotiated the return of more than 200,000 acres held by energy companies near Montana’s North Fork of the Flathead River. The Senators have secured the return of the primary interest in more than 80 percent of the total leased acreage. Tester and Baucus vowed to continue these efforts in addition to fighting for passage of the North Fork Watershed Protection Act introduced today.