Tester Blasts Administration’s Proposal to Sell Public Lands

Senator Vows to Fight for Montana After Leaked Infrastructure Plan Suggests Public Land Sell-Off

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is blasting a Trump Administration proposal that suggests selling off Montana’s public lands.

Tester is confronting President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke over the leaked proposal that specifically calls for the “disposition of federal real property” to help pay for an infrastructure bill. Tester is vowing to fight any plan from Trump or Zinke to sell or transfer the management of federal public lands to individual states.

“We need to address our nation’s vast infrastructure needs, and I look forward to working with both of you to get roads built, bridges repaired, schools and internet service improved, and dams maintained,”
Tester wrote. “But if we fund these efforts by selling off our public lands, we are mortgaging our nation’s conservation legacy. We are hamstringing our powerhouse outdoor economy. We are robbing the next generation of one of their best assets. I will never accept that.”

Tester also emphasized how critical public lands are to Montana’s economy.

“In Montana, our public lands are the backbone of our $7.1 billion outdoor recreation economy, support our family ranchers, and provide the clean air and water that our state constitution guarantees,” Tester added. “Selling off these resources would be a short-sighted budget gimmick that directly damages the outdoor heritage we leave for our kids and grandkids, and undercuts every aspect of our outdoor economy.”

Tester has successfully fought off repeated Congressional attempts to sell or transfer public lands, including during last fall’s budget debate and after a controversial vote in the House of Representatives that made it easier to sell off public lands.

This is not the first time the Trump Administration and Secretary Zinke have targeted Montana’s public lands. Last summer, the President released a budget that slashed $339 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is used by hunters and anglers to increase public access to public lands.

Tester’s letter to Trump and Zinke is available HERE.