MTPR

forestry

Sen. Jon Tester.
PD

Senate Republicans are pushing for a broad tax cut, contingent on the repeal of the law requiring Americans to buy insurance coverage. Montana Senator Jon Tester wants no part of it.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says eliminating the individual mandate would leave millions uninsured.

Caption The US Forest Service has proposed several thinning projects this fall aimed at reducing fuels in dry pine forests like this in the Bitterroot National Forest.
Nora Saks

Montana lawmakers are scoring political points by blaming environmentalists for suing to shut down logging projects on public lands. But public lands logging is both feeding area sawmills and reducing wildfire risk. MTPR's Nora Saks reports on a couple of projects in the Bitterroot Valley.

The Southwestern Crown Collaborative visits a burn site from the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake.
Brittany Greeson, Crossing The Divide

Wildfires burned more than a million acres across Montana this year, making it one of the most expensive fire seasons since 1999. While the smoke has cleared, the debate over wildfires and forest management is ongoing. Some Montana lawmakers are blaming what they call "environmental extremists" who've managed to stop some logging. But ecologists say it's more complicated than that. In an effort to learn how to live with wildfires, the Southwestern Crown Collaborative is one group trying to find common ground.

From left to right, Rep. Greg Gianforte, Sen. Steve Daines, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during a visit to the Lolo Peak Fire operations center August 24, 2017.
Eric Whitney

As fires continue to rage, some in Montana are calling for fundamental changes in government forest management policies. That sentiment is being echoed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Zinke was a guest on the Northern Broadcasting Network’s radio program Voices of Montana Tuesday. Just he came on, host Jon Arneson took a call from a longtime listener.

"Lets go to Diane in Marion, Montana on line 2. Diane?"

This week, representatives from environmental groups, the timber industry, and people with an interest in public lands came together in Missoula to talk, and maybe even start to trust each other.

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