Kalispell Daily Inter Lake: Senators back North Fork bill

Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester testified Wednesday in support of legislation that would permanently withdraw federal lands in the North Fork Flathead River drainage from future leases for energy development.

The two testified in support of their North Fork Watershed Protection Act before the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests in Washington, D.C.

It is the latest step in a cooperative agreement with British Columbia that bans mining in the North Fork river corridor on both sides of the border, including areas near Glacier and Waterton national parks.

The legislation does not impede timber production, hunting or fishing and it has won widespread support in Montana.

“Protecting the Crown of the Continent doesn’t just make environmental sense, it makes economic sense,” Tester said. “The economic engine of this landscape is its clean water and prized fishing and wildlife. Montana supports protecting this remote and wild landscape. Now it is our turn to solidify our commitment to these lands.”

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