Great Falls Tribune: On our minds: Forest jobs bill, health care

Let’s put behind the recent unseemly, inaccurate charges that Sen. Jon Tester’s jobs and wilderness bill was crafted in secrecy. It’s time to focus on the future and what will be accomplished rather than try to paint some vague conspiracy that belongs in a pulp fiction novel.

Tester should be commended for taking on subjects of timber jobs and wilderness designation in one bill after the stalemate in Montana’s political wars for a quarter-century.

Every bill starts out in the minds of a few people. They then find a sponsor to put their ideas into legislative reality. Such a process happened with this draft legislation. Tester listened. He approached the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and asked if we had ideas about wilderness in our region. He took some of our suggestions and rejected others. That’s what happens when Americans craft new legislation.

He’s now introduced a draft bill. We don’t think it’s perfect and we’re working for changes, but we strongly support Tester’s efforts to craft new ways to free our forests from the political gridlock dominating debates over forest management.

Read the whole article >>