BILLINGS — U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte will serve on the House Committee on Natural Resources, the fifth Montana congressman to do so.
Gianforte, elected to the House in a May 25 special election, received his committee assignments from the House Republican Steering Committee Tuesday. In addition to House Natural Resources, Montana’s only representative will also serve on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“We need responsible development of our natural resources. This has oversight for timber, energy mining, public land access and Indian affairs,” Gianforte said. “So, it’s a pretty broad swath of very important stuff for the state of Montana and I’m thrilled to be representing there.”
Gianforte said natural resource jobs are critical for Montana and he campaigned on increasing those opportunities. House Natural Resources also has oversight of the Endangered Species Act. Gianforte said the ESA needs to be used responsibly to protect endangered species as they recover, but not as a tool to stop natural resource development.
There’s also a chance on the committee to improve access to public lands for sportsmen, Gianforte said.
Gianforte will serve on the Natural Resources Subcommittees on Federal Lands and the subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans. Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, announced the appointment and welcomed Gianforte in a press release.
“I’m excited to welcome Rep. Gianforte to our team. Greg brings western values and a wealth of knowledge to the Committee and I look forward to working with him during the 115th Congress. Together we will tackle issues that are important to the way of life to Montanans and Americans all across the country.”
Montana has had a representative on the House Natural Resources Committee at least since Democrat Pat Williams' tenure, which began in 1979. Because the federal government is the state's biggest landowner, the House Natural Resources committee has been a good fit.
The Oversight and Government Reform Committee is the investigatory arm for both the presidential administration and Congress. Gianforte said his computer software background makes the appointment a good fit.
“This group has oversight on cybersecurity, something I know something about,” Gianforte said. “We did work with over 150 federal agencies. So I’ve been through the procurement process. I understand how they buy and use computer technology. In fact some of the work they’re focused on now is on modernizing government technology.”