US Sen. Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act mandating logging in Montana's national forests to receive natural resources committee hearing, vote, on Dec. 19, seen as 'key step' towards final passage

WASHINGTON , December 16, 2013 (press release) – Senator Jon Tester's landmark Forest Jobs and Recreation Act continues to make progress in the United States Senate.

Tester's bill, which mandates logging on National Forest land while also setting aside some of Montana's most treasured lands, will receive a vote in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this Thursday. It is the first time Tester's bill will receive a committee vote, a key step toward final passage.

The committee is scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building's Room 366. For those not in Washington, D.C., the meeting can be watched online HERE.

Tester's bill, first introduced in 2009, is the product of a wide-range of Montanans, including loggers, conservationists, motorized recreationists, mountain bikers, and sportsmen and women, working together to hammer out a compromise.

"This is a breakthrough," Tester said in advance of the hearing. "Many of the stakeholders that helped write this bill used to only meet in courtrooms. They put aside their differences to support Montana's timber economy, to restore fish and wildlife habitat, and to protect some of our most breathtaking landscapes."

  • WHAT: Senate Energy and Natural Resources vote on Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act
  • WHEN: Thursday, December 19, 2013, 9:30 a.m.
  • WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 366
Tester's bill, which is supported by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, will create jobs by putting Montanans to work in the woods and reduce the threat of wildfire by treating forests and removing hazardous fuels. It will also support Montana's $6 billion outdoor economy.

Since introducing the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, Tester has travelled around Montana and met with local stakeholders to strengthen his bill. He noted at a July hearing on his bill that he modified the legislation after talking to ranchers and outdoorsmen and women.

If approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the bill, which is co-sponsored by fellow Montana Senator Max Baucus, would next receive a vote in the full Senate.

In addition to Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, the committee will also vote on Tester's bipartisan Cabin Fee Act that restructures the U.S. Forest Service's cabin fee system to help cabin owners keep their family cabins amid rising land values.

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