Missoulian: Rehberg, please join constructive dialogue about national monuments

Over the weekend I led a group into the Bullwhacker, one of the many wild and historic places found inside the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. With me were some of the more than 400 citizens who signed the letter below opposing Rep. Denny Rehberg’s “Montana Land Sovereignty Act.” Like them, I support the century-old open system we use for conserving our rich heritage.

Dear Congressman Rehberg:

As Montanans, we appreciate the hard work required to serve the interests of this state. We want to thank you for your service, and hope your future efforts bring great benefits to us all.

That is why we encourage you to rethink the recently proposed Montana Land Sovereignty Act. After careful consideration and scrutiny, we find the bill promotes misunderstanding, division and fear rather than collectively moving Montana forward. When introducing the act, you declared: “The open season on Montana is over.” Rehberg, with all due respect, we do not believe there is an open season on our great state.

Please remember that both of our senators and several high-ranking officials have repeatedly said there is no plan to create a monument on northern Montana’s grasslands. Your staff was present in Malta just last September when the director of the Bureau of Land Management said, “I want to get the message right out front. There is no proposal for a national monument in Montana.”

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