Gianforte to Washington: “We Need to Start Managing Our Forests Again”
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Greg Gianforte took to the House floor today to call for better forest management.
“Imagine if the entire state of Delaware burned. That’s the scope of what has burned in Montana this year – 1.25 million acres of our beautiful state,” Gianforte said.
“I have seen firsthand the result of failing to manage our forests – over a million acres burned, livelihoods threatened, wildlife habitats destroyed, and dangerous air quality in our communities,” said Gianforte.
As part of his listening tour of all of Montana’s 56 counties this summer, Gianforte met with incident commanders and firefighters at five fires, including the July fire in Zortman, the Lodgepole Complex fires, the Bruner Mountain fire, the Park Creek fire, and the Lolo Peak fire.
Gianforte came away from each meeting convinced that a new course is needed.
“We need to be proactive and start managing our forests again,” Gianforte said. “Well-managed forests are healthier forests with more wildlife, more hunting, and more good-paying jobs for Montanans. And importantly, our wildfires are less severe.”
Gianforte’s recent Forest Jobs Tour took him into the field Thursday with BLM officials near Knowlton and Miles City to survey how the bureau has been managing forests and addressing wildfires.
“When BLM treated a forest, an approaching fire dropped into the underbrush and was quickly extinguished,” said Gianforte. “All the trees in the treated forest lived. But the trees in the untreated forest died and won’t recover in our lifetime.”
Gianforte’s Forest Jobs Tour also included a roundtable briefing in Helena on the status of the Stonewall Vegetation Project, a stop at F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company in Columbia Falls, a meeting with leaders and staff at a trucking company in Missoula that has been impacted by reduced timber sales, a discussion with the USDA Farm Service Agency about recovery efforts, and keynote remarks at the annual conference of the Montana Association of Counties.
Video of Gianforte’s remarks may be found here.