Helena – A year ago this week, uproar from Montana sportsmen, conservationists, and small business owners forced the withdrawal of Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s bill to sell off federal land – including 100,000 acres in Montana.
It just so happens that Lee endorsed wealthy real estate developer Matt Rosendale. And guess what! It just so happens that Rosendale has time and again pushed for transferring federal public lands to the state. Transferring federal lands to the state is bad policy, and could lead to selling off public land to private owners, which could severely undermine Montana’s $7.1 billion outdoor economy, close off land to hunters and anglers, sharply increase grazing rates for ranchers, and cause job loss.
Rosendale also voted to create a task force – under the guise of studying land management – which would cost tens of thousands of dollars and was opposed by many Montana conservation, outdoor recreation, and sportsmen groups for being “anti-public lands” and no more than a “backdoor to talks of transferring or selling off public lands.”
“Matt Rosendale thinks it’s ok to play politics with our public lands,” said Brooke Bainum, spokesperson for the Montana Democratic Party. “Montanans want their representatives to protect public lands from outsiders – they don’t need politicians like Rosendale fighting to undermine our treasured public lands that are the backbone of local economies, part of a way of life for hunters and anglers and outdoor recreationists, support the livelihoods of ranchers, and play a special role in our American heritage. These views might fly in Maryland, but they are wrong for Montana.”
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