Monday, July 20, 2009

Tester's Forest Removal Act

After being shrouded in secrecy, Senator Tester finally released his "Forest Jobs and Recreation Act." Secret, because no one, not even the press were told what the bill was about, except the select few who collaborated on it; conservationists, the timber industry and stakeholders.

Regarding this secrecy in drafting the bill Tester was quoted at a press conference, “There’s really very little to talk about until the bill is written.”(WOW! Talk about arrogance and being controlling.) Yet on his website he says he “values integrity, common sense, (and) transparency in government” ( )

The goal of the act is just as it says jobs and recreation. It has nothing to do with protecting wilderness. It's about logging (as the picture above shows).

Here are some highlights, or rather downfalls of the act.

Restoration Activity includes: precommercial thinning and commercial timber harvesting.

Stewardship Areas (here are a couple)

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest -- "a parcel of land that is designated as 'Suitable for Timber Production and Timber Harvest Is Allowed' as labled on the new map entitled, "Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Revised Forest Plan, Modeled Timber Harvest Classification." This means 7,000 acres a year will be harvested.

Seeley Lake Ranger District--a parcel of land that is "suitable for timber production; or eligible for timber harvest activities."

Stewardship Contract means "a contract that is carried out by 2 or more parties to carry out vegetation treatment, including mechanical treatment using commercial timber harvest of vegetation."

Another thing the bill doesn't do is limit cattle grazing on public lands. Cattle still own the land in Montana.

In his video he repeatedly says mills will put people back to work in the woods. He even says that if we lose timber mills, "we will suffer an even bigger loss. We will lose the folks who know how to work in the woods."

So, this act is as it says "Forest Jobs and Recreation Act." It's not about protecting forests.

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