ICYMI: Public Land Advocates “Cry Foul” as Daines Tries to Take Credit for Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act [E&E News] 

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ICYMI: Public Land Advocates “Cry Foul” as Daines Tries to Take Credit for Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act [E&E News] 
 
Helena, MT – A new story from E&E News highlights the backlash against Senator Steve Daines for falsely claiming credit for the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act. After Daines released an ad depicting himself as instrumental in the bill’s passage, members of the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition responded, “That bill didn’t pass because of Steve Daines; it passed in spite of him.” Daines refused to sign onto the bill “without pairing it with a proposal to release designated wilderness study areas at the same time.”

When pressed on this misleading ad, the Daines campaign did not return a request for comment.”
 
This is just the latest in Daines’ election-year public lands pivot – a shameless attempt to paper over his record now that his political future hangs in the balance. The truth is that Daines only cares about himself and his reelection campaign, not Montanans and their right to public lands
 
Highlights:
E&E News: Critics cry foul as Daines takes credit for mining ban
By Jennifer Yachnin
 
“More than 18 months after members of a Montana business group successfully pressed Congress to block new mining claims on federal lands outside Yellowstone National Park, some of its members are locked in a new battle: exactly who can claim credit for the win on Capitol Hill.

The split played out in Montana newspapers last week, including the Billings Gazette, which published an opinion piece from members of the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition slamming Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

At issue is a campaign ad Daines released earlier this month, touting his support for the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.

The spot features sweeping views of the Paradise Valley area and Yellowstone River, as Pray, Mont., resident Bryan Wells recalls the push to safeguard the region from new mines.

“Sen. Daines was key. This would have never gotten done without him,” said Wells, dressed in a hat with the logo of his business, Emigrant Creek Cabins, and sporting his white, chest-length beard.



But a trio of members of the business group, which served as a leading voice in the push to block new gold exploration in the historic Emigrant and Crevice mining districts, near the only year-round entrance to Yellowstone, argue that Daines is trying to mislead Montana voters (Greenwire, Feb. 13, 2019).

“For two and a half years, we worked to pass that bill by engaging our business community in Park and Gallatin counties, and we can tell you: That bill didn’t pass because of Steve Daines; it passed in spite of him,” wrote Sweetwater Fly Shop owner Dan Gigone, Yellowstone Wolf Tracker owner Nathan Varley and author Rick Lamplugh.

The group argues that although Daines did ultimately back the legislation, which was signed into law in March 2019 as a larger package of public lands bills, he spent months arguing the bill could not pass without paring it with a proposal to release designated wilderness study areas at the same time.



Several months earlier, in April 2017, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester introduced the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act to prohibit new mineral withdrawals just outside the park. Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte sponsored the companion legislation in the House.



A Daines campaign spokeswoman did not return a request for a comment.



The Montana Democratic Party has also attacked Daines over the ad, accusing the first-term senator of attempting to green wash his record on public lands during the campaign season.

“Daines cares about himself and his reelection, not Montanans and their right to public lands,” state party spokeswoman Christina Wilkes said in a statement.” 

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