What Montanans Are Saying About Gianforte’s Attempt To Strip Protections From Montana’s Public Lands

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Helena—Today, multimillionaire Congressman Greg Gianforte’s legislation to strip protections from almost 700,000 acres of Montana’s pristine public lands was considered during a House Natural Resource Subcommittee hearing.

Gianforte’s legislation is opposed by 57% of Montanans, and Gianforte has held no public hearings to solicit input from Montanans on his proposal. But that doesn’t mean Montanans have been silent in the face of the largest attack on Montana’s public lands in recent history. Here’s what people are saying about Gianforte’s legislation:

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: “The wilderness study areas have remained undeveloped all these years good reasons. Most offer little in the way of easily extractable natural resources and easily accessible motorized recreation. And they should stay that way.”

Missoulian: “People from all corners of Montana have repeatedly attempted to question them on their legislation and to share important concerns, only to be painted as “environmental extremists” or ignored altogether… Daines and Gianforte should withdraw their proposed legislation immediately, and launch a campaign to gather real public input instead.”

Montana Standard: “But our largest concern is about the need for transparency in the process of change. Such momentous decisions as changing the use and stewardship of 500,000 currently unspoiled acres of public lands should not be made without hearing from Montanans in a highly organized and inclusive fashion…In Montana, we like our government the same way we like our water — clean, clear and public.”

Billings Gazette: “Eighty-two percent of Montanans call themselves conservationists, a larger proportion than ever before in the Colorado Poll. All members of our congressional delegation should consider that viewpoint.”

Roger Otstot of Billings, retired Bureau of Reclamation economist: “Senator Daines and Representative Gianforte, your legislation was flawed from the beginning. It’s time to start over and let Montanans have a say on the fate of our public lands.”

Avery Berg, Bozeman High School senior: “It is time for Daines and Gianforte to face their constituents and hear opinions on Montana’s public lands. Instead of screening over-the-phone ‘town halls’ or curated meetings with like-minded public officials, they must turn out in the communities their policies will impact and fully hear out our concerns.”

Connie and Mack Long, Owners of Bob Marshall Wilderness Outfitters: “Unfortunately, Sen. Daines and Rep. Gianforte have so far refused to take a collaborative approach to determining the future of our WSAs. In fact, they’ve refused to hold public meetings and hearings. They’ve locked Montanans out of the process, and it’s showing in how Montanans are reacting to these bills.”

Rancher Jim Haggerty of the Montana Wilderness Association and Pat McGuffin of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers: “Our public land heritage is the signature reason we call Montana the last best place. What will we call our home after 800,000 acres of protected wilderness-worthy land is degraded?”

Tim Bozorth, former BLM Dillon Field Manager, and Mike Penfold, former Montana State BLM Director: “Gianforte hasn’t held any town hall meetings. He hasn’t met with diverse interests. He hasn’t solicited public comment from the communities bordering these lands. And so, we join thousands of Montanans in our outcry against such a blatant, top-down, special interest driven, attack on our public lands.”

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