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Sen. Jon Tester’s Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act and Sen. Steve Daines’ bill 2206 are nothing but giveaways to the timber industry at the expense of our clean water, wild places, and most importantly, our democracy.

Tester is not following the democratic process when he allows only a chosen few, including Pyramid Lumber, in the collaborative group who wrote his bill. It is not a surprise the bill opens up tens of thousands of acres in the Lolo National Forest to timber sales. Also not surprising, the authors of the bill will be the only people who decide on those projects. The rest of the locals will be left out in the cold without the power to express their opinions about the lands they use and enjoy every day.

Daines announced a “public meeting” in Hamilton with only his chosen few supporters. A last-minute meeting announcement was given for the rest of the locals with an incorrect time. The meeting was over when they arrived.

It is not a public meeting if the entire public is not invited and it is not a true collaborative group when its members are a select chosen few.

Don’t be fooled. While Tester and Daines tell us that they are fighting for local control of public lands, they are both whittling away at the very public process that protects our right to decide how our neighboring public lands will be handled. Their actions tell the true story.

Michele Dieterich, Hamilton

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