Washington, DC – Two bills that would lift protections for hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands in Montana should be put on hold until the public has a chance to weigh in, Tracy Stone-Manning of the National Wildlife Federation said Wednesday.
Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte is sponsoring H.R. 5148 and H.R. 5149, which together would release more than 800,000 acres from Wilderness Study Area protection. The lands are managed to protect their wilderness characteristics until it’s decided to whether to approve an official designation. Stone-Manning, the National Wildlife Federation’s associate vice president for public lands, will testify in a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on the bills Thursday.
“In Montana, our love for our public lands brings people of all stripes together to find solutions to the thorny issues, but in this case Rep. Gianforte has short-circuited the process and cut out the public. These bills strip protections from public lands that contain exceptional wildlife habitat and clean water that supplies water for both our communities and world-class trout streams. The lands support hunting, fishing and recreation that contribute to the state’s $7 billion outdoor recreation economy. Congress should step back until a community-driven solution can be put forward, based on the values Montanans share and what makes sense on the ground.”
Here is Stone-Manning’s written testimony.
The House Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing starts at 10 a.m. ET, 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
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