Rep. Daines Brings Dog and Pony Show To Billings

Montana’s sportsmen and women, landowners, small businesses and schools all benefit from the recreation and business opportunities that come as a result of land conservation as well as the jobs created by the energy industry. But Montanans expect balance between conservation and energy development – a fact that may be lost on Congressman Daines in Billings today.

Congressman Daines will be in Billings with U.S. House Natural Resources Committee members for a congressional field hearing concerning the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In the hearing, entitled, “State and Local Efforts to Protect Species, Jobs and Multiple Use Amidst a New War on the West,” Montanans will surely hear him railing dramatically about regulations contained in the law, which was passed by Congress in 1973.  Rather than working together to solve problems and find common ground with stakeholders, Congressman Daines and company seem to be looking for sound bites for future campaign ads meant to show how they’re not just another worn out part of the DC political machine.

Montanans should be furious that Congressman Daines and his DC friends seem more concerned with parroting industry talking points than finding commonsense, responsible solutions to our most pressing natural resource issues. This “hearing” is a prime example of the misleading and inflammatory language Montanans are sick of.

The Western Values Project is working this week to hold Daines accountable for his rhetoric, which is out of touch with Westerners’ support for balanced land use and out of step with the facts. Montanans deserve to know the truth about how their representatives are spending their time and their resources – in this case, trumping up false charges about environmental safeguards on behalf of industry donors, rather than working to achieve the balance we want.

Today, you can expect to hear this from Congressman Daines:

Here’s what you won’t hear:

Here’s something else you can expect to hear from Daines:

Here are the facts you won’t hear:

Even as Montanans are forced off the job at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Committee Members have decided flying to Montana and Wyoming in a jet full of hot air is the best way to spend limited resources.  On the same day in Montana’s state capital, the Governor, along with representatives of both political parties and diverse stakeholders, will try to forge a new path forward on sage grouse.

Montanans expect their representatives – Democrats and Republicans – to work together to solve problems. Time for comment on the recent Billings Resource Management Plan, which helps federal land managers determine where oil and gas leasing is appropriate while protecting areas with high value to outdoorsmen and sportsmen, has come and gone without any input from Congressman Daines. So here’s a suggestion for Mr. Daines:

Instead of coming home to spin tales of government gone awry and ignoring Montanans that want to see common sense solutions that allow us to take care of our lands and communities, you should start working with stakeholders on the ground – like ranchers, sportsmen, and industry – to ensure commonsense, balanced development of our public lands. 


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