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Pine Creek Lake. Photo by Walker Stole
Sep 18 2020

Progress for the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act in Congress

A hearing brings the bill one step closer to passing

On Wednesday, Sept. 16, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act (BCSA), an early but important step toward the bill becoming law.

During the hearing, the committee heard testimony and questions on public lands bills from across the country, including other wilderness bills from New Mexico and Oregon. If a package of public lands bills comes together in this session of Congress, it’s most likely to include bills that were part of this hearing.

And that’s exactly what we want for the BCSA. 

Sen. Steve Daines and Chris French, a Forest Service representative, stated that they support the collaborative process that developed the BCSA. Community members from around Seeley Lake and Ovando representing broad interests including ranchers, outfitters and guides, mill owners, foresters, business owners, snowmobilers, and wilderness and wildlife advocates worked together to create this bill which has been championed by Sen. Jon Tester since 2009.

The most recent nonpartisan University of Montana Voter Survey on Public Lands also found that 75% of Montana voters support the BCSA.

Despite this broad support and his statements supporting collaborative approaches to public land management, Daines has yet to express strong support for this key piece of locally developed collaborative legislation.  

The BCSA will add nearly 80,000 acres of Wilderness to the Mission Mountains, Scapegoat, and Bob Marshall Wilderness Areas. It will also establish two outdoor recreation areas north of Ovando, providing new winter motorized access and preserving mountain biking opportunities. In Sen. Tester’s words following the hearing, the BCSA “is a good bill because it creates jobs, it helps with our recreation economy, and it helps preserve land for future generations.”

See the senator's short video update about the hearing here

What’s next in the process? After committee, the bill will proceed to the Senate floor for a vote. We need to keep pressure on Daines to make sure that these next steps happen and the BCSA receives a positive Senate vote.

Please send a digital postcard to Daines today letting him know you want him to make sure the BCSA passes this session.

You can also help us keep the pressure on him by making a donation to our BCSA campaign efforts

Erin Clark
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.
Email Erin