Tester braves D.C. ‘snow’ to help preserve Montana rivers

Senator, conservationists meet amid government shutdown, discuss value of conservation

(U.S. SENATE) – A government shutdown caused by light snow in Washington D.C. didn’t stop Senator Jon Tester today from discussing more ways to preserve Montana’s rivers and watersheds.

Despite the federal government’s weather-related shutdown, Tester made it to his Washington office to meet with fellow Montanans Scott Bosse and Mike Fiebig, Director and Associate Director of the non-profit organization American Rivers’ Northern Rockies office, and John Kober, Executive Director of the Pacific Rivers Council, another non-profit group. All three men are from Bozeman.

Tester, Bosse, Fiebig and Kober discussed Tester’s support for the Water Resources Development Act, the North Fork Watershed Protection Act and how to preserve Montana’s rivers to benefit the state’s outdoor economy. Montana’s outdoor economy, led by hunting, fishing and recreation, creates or sustains 64,000 jobs and contributes nearly $6 billion to the state’s economy each year.

“Montana’s rivers drive our state’s economy today, but they also play a part in many of our childhood memories,” Tester said. “Threats to our rivers don’t just affect water quality and wildlife, they affect our outdoor economy and our way of life. Conserving our most important rivers will help create jobs and preserve our rivers for our future generations to enjoy.”

The Water Resources Development Act passed the Senate in May. One section of the bill incentivizes private land owners to conserve rivers by authorizing $30 million for small projects. Senator Max Baucus’ North Fork Watershed Protection Act, which Tester supports, would protect the watershed from new oil and gas development and mining without impeding hunting, fishing or recreation.

American Rivers is collaborating with other watershed groups and local residents on the groundwork for safeguarding some of the most unspoiled river segments in Montana.

Tester, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is also a long-time supporter of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which he helped to reauthorize and amend in 2012 to ensure that the government makes preserving rivers a top priority.

Federal government offices in Washington, D.C. closed today due to predictions of snow and ice. Each Senator, however, can choose whether to keep his or her office open.