Helena Independent Record: Forest bill meeting in Deer Lodge went well

It was a pleasure to attend the public meeting at Deer Lodge on March 6 with Sen. Jon Tester and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in reference to the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. It isn’t often that we get a U.S. Cabinet member coming to Montana, and I believe it was a show of great respect for our senator.

Secretary Vilsack stated that he is impressed with the collaborative effort by Montanans in developing the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act and stated that we need to replicate that kind of effort across rural America. He certainly understands the need for more timber jobs in Montana as well as keeping that traditional industry alive. He also recognizes that without clean water (protected by this bill), our way of life would be in dire straits. He was very supportive of the Forest Service and intends to increase its budget in order to provide separate firefighting funds while protecting its management funds.

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