MISSOULA - Roughly $74 million was spent and 1.2 million acres burned across the state in this summer’s devastating fire season.
Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MT) met with local leaders on Monday to discuss a bill that he says will reform how Montana manages forests.
“We have to make it easier for input into the process,” Rep. Gianforte said. “ Also, a more streamline process to get permits, so we can get back in the woods, reduce the fuel loads, improve the habitat and improve the health of the forest.”
The Resilient Federal Forest Act of 2017 is a piece of legislation that was introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and co-sponsored by Rep. Gianforte.
If passed, the bill would reform the management of Montana forests, reward collaboration, and confront frivolous litigation. Critics of the legislation say it does not address climate change. However, Rep. Gianforte believes a managed forest leads to a healthy environment.
“If we want to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere… we need healthy forests,” Congressman Gianforte said. ” The best way to sequester carbon is to have a good healthy forest that’s capturing carbon and also releasing oxygen into the environment."
Rep. Gianforte began his day on Monday by touring the Sun Mountain Lumber mill in Deer Lodge where he said, "“I’m of the firm belief if we don’t start managing our forests we’re going to continue to see these catastrophic wildfires."
The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the bill on Nov. 3.