Tester Calls on Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management to Help Rural Areas with COVID-19 Response

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is joining a bipartisan group of colleagues calling on federal agencies-including the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management-to mobilize their employees to assist with COVID-19 response in rural counties and tribal communities.

“Throughout rural America, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture employ thousands of federal civil servants who have the relevant experience to assist with emergency response,” Tester and his colleagues wrote to the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and FEMA. “…We believe these federal professionals are well suited to partner with rural counties and municipalities to enhance staff capacity and support communities facing this public health crisis. Therefore, in light of the national emergency declaration, we urge you to take immediate steps to ensure your agencies are working together to make your respective staff and resources available and able to assist with emergency response to COVID-19 across the country.”

Tester has led the charge on pushing the Trump Administration to make sure that vulnerable Montanans-in particular, seniors, folks with disabilities, and direct care providers-have access to information about test kits, proper protection, and the outbreak of COVID-19. He has introduced legislation to guarantee testing for the virus will be at zero cost, and he is working to extend the IRS tax filing deadline. He has also doubled down on his efforts to press the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Indian Health Service to provide veterans, VA healthcare staff, and Tribes with access to proper resources and information.

Full text of the letter HERE.