Commissioner: Despite new lipstick, H.R. 1505 ‘still sausage’
BILLINGS, Mont. – After a year of controversy, Congressman Dennis Rehberg finally got to vote today on his own unpopular bill to allow one government agency operational control over public lands within 100 miles of Montana’s northern border with Canada—without public input.
Rehberg’s bill impacts public lands within 100 miles of the Montana border
The measure, known as H.R. 1505, was part of a broader bill approved today by Rehberg and his party bosses in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Despite no public hearings Rehberg has defended H.R. 1505 for months, claiming the bill is necessary to “end a bureaucratic turf-war” that even the Secretary of Homeland Security says doesn’t exist.
But Montanans overwhelmingly reject Rehberg’s bill. Sportsmen from both parties call it “bad legislation” because it undermines numerous public laws that guarantee hunting and fishing access, and health populations of fish and wildlife.
Conservative blogger Ed Barry calls Rehberg’s bill a “fatal betrayal of America” for its government overreach.
Even Steve Daines, currently running for Rehberg’s U.S. House seat, said of Rehberg’s bill, “We’ve got people back in Washington that don’t understand the importance here of states’ rights.”
Congressman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, today offered amendments to the measure. But the amendments do not change the bill’s ability to allow top-down decisions about Montana’s public lands with no public input.
“Congressman Rehberg can put as much lipstick on this pig as he wants, but it’s still sausage,” said Blaine County Commissioner Vic Miller, who called attention to Rehberg’s bill last year. “This irresponsible bill still gives the federal government authority to make top-down decisions about our public land without any public input—even if it means building roads across Montana’s big game habitat.”
Rehberg’s support for his border security bill echoes his longtime support for the Patriot Act—a law most Montanans, including Jon Tester, oppose.