Posted: Jan 26, 2013 4:12 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - The Montana Legislature is being asked to take a stand on Senator Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.
Republican Rep. Kerry White is carrying a resolution which states the Montana Legislature opposes Tester's bill.
The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act would allow logging on 100,000 acres and would also designate more than 660,000 acres as wilderness. But opponents of the measure say Montana doesn't need anymore wilderness.
"It does label land as wild, or wilderness but it does not anyway guarantee jobs or improve our forest health. It does not guarantee cutting a tree," Madison County Commissioner Dave Schulz commented.
Backers of Tester's legislation say the Forest Jobs Act is a collaboration between the timber industry and conservation groups, and say it cleans up the forest from all the pine beetle kill.
"My wife Bonnie and I own and operate the Sun Mountain Lumber Saw Mill in Deer Lodge. It's our personal responsibility to see to it that some 300 people that we employ retain jobs," Sherm Anderson told lawmakers.
The resolution is not binding law, and is simply a policy statement. The House Natural Resources committee has yet to take action on the proposal.