Thursday, March 20, 2014

North Fork Watershed Protection Act hung up in the Senate

The North Fork of the Flathead is one of those places that deserve special protection. Nobody in Montana disagrees on that, not even our Congressional delegation. The bill, which was negotiated by then Governor Brian Schweitzer and introduced by former Senator Max Baucus and co-sponsored by Senator Jon Tester was introduced into the House earlier this year by Congressman Steve Daines. The bill was able to move out of the House easily enough, just like it has been able to move out of the Senate Committee on an unanimous vote.

Unfortunately, petty politics seem to be getting in the way of any movement out of the Senate and on to the President’s Desk. Last week, Senators Walsh & Tester made a rather disconcerting declaration that Senators Cruz, Toomey & Coburn have stalled the bill, seeking to blackmail Congress into reducing protections on other lands.

This is politics at its worst. The long accepted method for passing public land legislation specific to a certain state was this: If the entire delegation agreed it was a good idea, Congress would pass the bill.

That time, apparently, has passed.

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