Daines Still Withholding Support for the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act
It’s time the senator stopped ignoring a bill that three out of four Montanans support
For several years now, the conservation community has been asking Sen. Steve Daines to support the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, a bill that would add almost 80,000 acres to the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Mission Mountains Wilderness Areas. Crafted by a group of Montanans who represent timber, ranching, conservation, hunting, and other public land interests, the bill would permanently protect the four most important tributaries of the Blackfoot, thereby protecting this storied river and its native trout populations. Sen. Tester reintroduced the bill last year.
Year after year, support for this legislation grows. A recent University of Montana public lands survey shows that 75% of Montanans support the legislation, a two-percentage increase from the last time the survey was conducted, in 2017.
Daines has nonetheless offered no explanation for why he can’t join the vast majority of his constituents in support of the bill. In 2018 and 2019, Daines blocked the bill from receiving a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (of which he is a member), ruining its chances of being included in a sweeping lands package that Congress passed last year, a package that included 1 million acres of new Wilderness in several states, none of them named Montana.
Along with a number of other organizations and Montana businesses, MWA recently sent Daines a letter asking him to honor the hard work and dedication of the many Montanans who crafted the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act and have long worked towards its passage in Congress. We requested that he ensure the bill gets a hearing and mark-up in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee before the Senate goes on its August recess.
We acknowledge it is a difficult time for our state and nation as we continue to struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects it has had on our economy. But this hardship has made it all the more apparent that this stunning part of Montana needs the insurance, and assurance, that the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act provides for our native trout, wildlife, water quality, and outdoor recreation economy. Passage of the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act will create new opportunities for the communities of Seeley Lake and Ovando, and will help the state climb back towards the $7.1 billion outdoor recreation economy we’ve enjoyed in recent years.
You can join us in our request to Daines. Send him this digital postcard encouraging his support for this legislation that should have been law by now.
Please take a moment to send Sen. Daines a digital postcard encouraging him to support the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act.
Western Montana Field Director
Erin builds community support for the protection of western Montana's wild mountains and valleys, from the Bob Marshall to the Bitterroot to the Great Burn. She's a lifelong winter seeker and skier. When snow is hard to come by, she enjoys trail running and botanizing.