Tester’s Historic Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act Receives Key Senate Hearing

Bill to create jobs, protect public lands gets first committee vote

Following years of work from Montana ranchers, recreationists, loggers, mountain bikers, and business owners, U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act (BCSA) today received its first vote in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Tester’s legislation, which is supported by 83% of Montanans, would create jobs, protect thousands of acres of public land, and ensure future generations can access the world-class outdoor recreational opportunities available in the Blackfoot River watershed.

“Montanans expect their elected officials to get stuff done, and after today’s hearing, we’ve taken a critical step for our businesses, outdoor recreationalists, and conservationists,” said Tester. “The BCSA is the result of years of collaboration between a diverse set of stakeholders, and with overwhelming support from the majority of Montanans, it should serve as a model for balanced use of our public lands. I look forward to gaining the support of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle so that we can get this bill out of committee and signed into law as soon as possible.”

Tester’s bill received a 10-10 tie vote, setting up a future vote to move the bill out of Committee. Tester is the only member of the Montana congressional delegation who supports the BCSA.

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’s bill is endorsed by:

  • The Lewis & Clark County Commission
  • The Missoula County Commission
  • The Powell County Commission
  • Pyramid Mountain Lumber
  • MTB Missoula
  • Seeley Lake Driftriders
  • Wild Montana
  • Montana Wildlife Federation
  • The Wilderness Society
  • Business for Montana’s Outdoors
  • MT Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
  • MT Trout Unlimited
  • Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
  • Dozens of outfitters, guides, and small businesses
  • And additional stakeholders across Montana

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, and he re-introduced the bill last April.

Text of Tester’s Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act is available HERE.


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