Balance Under the Big Sky

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This week, the Center for Western Priorities released a documentary highlighting both the challenges and opportunities we face in Montana when it comes to energy development and conservation.  The film shouldn’t be missed and includes interviews with farmers, ranchers, elected officials, economists and of course footage of our beautiful state.

I grew up in Montana, and I’ve traveled to every corner of this state.  I’ve hunted, fished, blazed down gravel roads and shot cans on our public lands. The timber products industry helped put food on my table as a kid. I know first hand how important our natural resources are not only for our economy but our quality of life.

What makes a place a treasured landscape is of course subjective.  For some, the pines and the high alpine mountain peaks stretch smiles across their faces, for others miles of sagebrush, wild grasses and wind swept prairies ease the soul.

As Montanans know, we have to be good stewards of our land.  Fortunately our Washington delegation has taken some important steps to find a balance between conservation and energy development. Spend some time learning more about the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act and North Fork Watershed Protection Act.

But the work certainly doesn’t stop there. I believe both parties owe it to their constituencies to make sure commonsense policies dictate how we use and manage our public lands. After all conservation isn’t a partisan issue. According to recent polling, a majority of Montanans believe strongly in the economic benefits of our public lands and call themselves conservationists.

Next year, election season will be right back in full force. Regardless of the candidate or party who wins in November, it’s up to you to make sure our elected officials are representing your interests in Washington.  Make your voice heard, and don’t miss “Balance Under the Big Sky.”

Join the effort to strengthen the American West.