Tester makes sure Justice Department is focused on the Bakken

Senator bringing new resources, attention to eastern Montana

(U.S. SENATE) – With the oil boom continuing in eastern Montana, Senator Jon Tester is taking more action to make sure law enforcement has the tools it needs to protect the region’s growing communities.

Tester today added a provision to the Justice Department’s funding bill directing the department to develop a plan to support law enforcement in the Bakken – where increasing energy production is swelling the region’s population and leading to spikes in crime and drug trafficking.

Tester’s measure also calls on the Justice Department to compile a report on crime trends in the region so law enforcement can allocate resources to the appropriate areas. Preliminary studies show crime is up by more than 30 percent in the region since 2005.

“The Bakken’s economic growth is creating new jobs and opportunities in eastern Montana, but it’s also putting a strain on the area’s public safety,” Tester said. “We need to make sure law enforcement officials have the resources they need to support local communities.”

Tester and fellow Montana Senator John Walsh announced in April the Justice Department will make $3 million available to support survivors of domestic violence and increase prosecutions of perpetrators.

Tester also held a roundtable in Glendive in 2013 with former National Drug Control Policy Director R. Gil Kerlikowske and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) to discuss ways to reduce local drug abuse. Earlier this year, he successfully pushed the FBI to keep two FBI Agents stationed in Sidney.

Tester added the language to the 2015 budget as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill will next be considered by the full Senate.