Tester Secures Hearing Next Week for Landmark Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act

Tester’s made-in-Montana land management plan will be in front of Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on September 16th

After pushing his historic public lands package that fully and permanently funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund through Congress and into law, U.S. Jon Tester is continuing his aggressive efforts to advance Montana’s public lands priorities by securing a hearing for his landmark Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act (BCSA) next week.

The hearing will take place before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining on Wednesday, September 16 at 2:30pm.

“This bill wasn’t drafted in a dark backroom or influenced by D.C. lobbyists,” said Tester. “Montana sportsmen and women, loggers, bikers, and conservationists alike spent over a decade working together on the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act—it’s the perfect example of what happens when folks come together to bring Montana commonsense to Washington. This hearing will give my colleagues the chance to understand how this critical legislation will create jobs, strengthen our outdoor economy, and give us the tools we need to break the land management stalemate and protect thousands of acres of public land.”

In the wake of the successful public lands investments secured through the passage of the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, Tester wrote to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee leaders, urging his colleagues to hold a hearing on the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. He argued that the BSCA is commonsense legislation that provides a “natural next step” to the billions in public lands investments, outlining the collaborative land management necessary to protect thousands of acres of public land while strengthening Montana’s outdoor economy.

The result of a collective effort between ranchers, recreationists, loggers, mountain bikers, and business owners, Tester’s BCSA is a multi-use proposal that would protect thousands of acres of public land, ensure future generations can access outdoor recreational opportunities, and strengthen Montana’s outdoor economy in the Blackfoot River Watershed.

Specifically, the bill would protect 79,060 acres of wildlife habitat in the Bob Marshall, Mission Mountains, and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas, open 2,013 acres of currently closed land to snowmobiling, and protect 3,835 acres for mountain biking and hiking. It would also require the Forest Service to prioritize its review of future recreational trail proposals from the collaborative group, and to conduct a forest health assessment that will help identify new timber projects on the landscape.

Tester first introduced the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act at the request of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project with the support of the local timber industry.

A live webcast of the hearing will be available on the committee’s website here.