Havre Daily News Op-Ed: Daines a conservationist? Not so fast

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Friday, June 19, 2020

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Havre Daily News Op-Ed: Daines a conservationist? Not so fast

Helena, MT – Senator Steve Daines is getting called out for his attempts to rewrite his record on public lands in a new op-ed in the Havre Daily News. The op-ed advises against letting Steve Daines “fool you into believing he’s an advocate for public lands or conservation” and to “look at Daines’ larger record” to see his real priorities. 

Havre Daily News Op-ed: Daines a conservationist? Not so fast
By: Jack Ballard 

Highlights

But before judging this as the labor of a public lands loving, conservationist senator, voters would be wise to look at Daines’ larger record.

In June 2018, Daines voted in favor of a spending bill that axed funding for the LWCF, shortly after professing his support for the program in a press conference. A 2015 vote saw Sen. Daines in the “yes” column for a measure that actually prohibited reauthorization of the LWCF. Is it possible that the senator’s outspoken support for the GAOA and the LWCF has anything to do with Daines’ re-election campaign in a state where the vast majority of citizens favor wilderness, wildlife conservation and public lands?

His record on conservation legislation and issues adequately answer that question… William Perry Pendley, a former lawyer who even helped sue Montana to try to restrict our access to our rivers and streams, is now the acting head of the Bureau of Land Management — BLM — with the blessing of Sen. Daines. When dozens of Montana conservation and hunting advocacy groups protested Pendley’s appointment, Daines called their concerns “overblown.”

Daines’ tenure in the Senate has seen his support for the current administration’s federal budgets that slash funding for public lands management agencies such as the Forest Service. He’s working to jerk protections from Montana’s Wilderness Study Areas without a single local hearing. The proposed Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act would add acreage to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex while providing local jobs in logging. It was crafted and supported by a diverse group of folks in the timber industry, agriculture, the outfitting business and conservation community. Daines still refuses to support this locally popular legislation.

A single rodeo does not a bronc-rider make. Although his support for the GAOA is certainly commendable, don’t let the Daines’ re-election campaign fool you into believing he’s an advocate for public lands or conservation. His record indicates otherwise.

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