MISSOULA — US Senator Steve Daines says new forest management reform legislation will take "concrete, meaningful steps" to improve forest health and reduce the risk of wildfires.
The Republican also hopes teaming up with veteran Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California will convince Congress the issue is critical and needs to be addressed across party lines.
Word came late last week that Daines and Feinstein are working on legislation that would protect public safety by expediting and expanding the removal of dead, dying and hazardous trees in national forests.
The pair had jointly authored a letter in 2016, even before the devastating 2017 and 2018 wildfire season which caused millions of dollars in damage, and even a loss of life in both states.
Daines believes the fires already rolling across the West will help convince their colleagues of the need for management reform.
"This is a good time to get the message out that we've got to make some changes. And unfortunately, in California's case, they've had to take drastic measures now."
"Governor Newsom has had to suspend some of their NEPA reviews on the state level because they've got to get these forest management projects through -- the treatment projects. So what we proposed here is very common sense," he added.
"We get a bi-partisan cooperation on that reduces the risk of wildfires. And was just very pleased to have Dianne Feinstein, one of the more senior members of the US Senate from California working with a Republican from Montana. That's what needs to happen," Daines concluded.