A supposed 'gaffe' has set Montana politics alight.
Democratic Senator Jon Tester said hyperbolically that every logging sale in the state is under litigation as his frustration with a century of failed forest policy plagues The Last Best Place.
Only wildfires clearcut with impunity.
Dense Douglas fir, spruce, lodgepole, ponderosa pine stands prevent aspen restoration and hardwood release while opposition to mechanical harvest rages on in the environmental community. No longer natural after a century of fire suppression Montana's forests are building fuels in most habitats where indigenous cultures cleared for millennia.
Montana's Department of Livestock slaughters wild bison that leave Yellowstone National Park to find shelter on national forest lands during deep winter snows yet in both Montana and Wyoming the Bureau of Land Management adopts out, seeks private pastures for, and feeds wild horses. The US Park Service feeds the elk most responsible for infecting domestic cattle with brucellosis. Montana and Wyoming legislatures entertained bills that would remand federal lands to the states so grazing, mining and logging could take place without bound.
As the cheatgrass cycle begins anew on the sage steppe perpetuated by the cattle industry many meteorologists are predicting another active wildfire season in the upper Missouri River basin. Some wildlife agencies have begun reintroducing bighorn sheep to control cheatgrass on public lands where fuels have amassed but they need many acres of open land to thrive.
President Obama has voiced frustration about salmon being managed under overlapping jurisdictions.
Trees growing on public land are not agriculture any more than wild salmon are aquaculture. One part of a solution to forest management woes is to move the US Forest Service from the US Department of Agriculture into Interior where American Indian nations could more easily assume additional responsibilities for stewardship on public land.
If enviros succeed in driving from office the only Democrats who can preserve public lands and leave Republicans to their devices we are truly fucked.