Tester hears from Montana business leaders about the economic value of conservation

Montanans tell Senator: Clean and accessible public lands are economic drivers

(U.S. SENATE) – Montana business leaders this week delivered Senator Jon Tester a clear message: Preserving clean and accessible public lands will bring new business opportunities to Montana.
Tester met with Jeff Welch, John Frandsen, Marne Hayes, and Daren Norhagen, all members of Business for Montana’s Outdoors.  Business for Montana’s Outdoors helps educate community leaders and policy makers about the importance of public lands as a selling point for businesses looking to move to Montana and for entrepreneurs thinking about starting businesses in the Big Sky State.
The group told Tester that protecting public lands is a proven economic driver.  Not only do businesses relocate to Montana to be closer to outdoor recreation options, but Montana’s economy benefits from the money spent on outdoor recreation activities, like hunting, fishing, and hiking.
“We often take for granted the easy access we have to Montana’s millions of acres of public lands,” Tester said.  “As business leaders and entrepreneurs from around the country look at our public lands and decide to move their businesses to Montana, we have to continue to make investments to preserve clean air and water and to increase access to our public lands.”
Tester is committed to protecting more land and expanding access to existing public lands.  He has long championed full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which uses funds from off-shore oil drilling to protect land and water assets.  Tester is also pushing a bill to set aside 1.5 percent of LWCF funds to secure access to existing public lands.  Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act sets aside land as wilderness, designates new recreation areas, and improves forest health through mandated timber harvest.
The connection between Montana’s outdoors and a strong economy is why Tester is holding his 13th Small Business Opportunity Workshop this Friday in Bozeman.  The workshop will connect national travel and technology industry leaders with Montana businesses to expand tourism opportunities and create jobs in the Big Sky State.

Video of Tester’s meeting with Welch, Hayes, Frandsen, and Norhagen in online HERE.