Tomorrow, Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) will attend a meeting of the Western Caucus, a coalition of officials that places private rights and economic development above the future of America’s public lands and wildlife. Daines will speak at a session with controversial Trump appointee Karen Budd-Falen, a long-time anti-public lands zealot.
“Steve Daines is a politician on the move. After failing to do his job in Washington, he’s already skipping out on Montana for a junket to California to meet with a bunch of anti-public lands extremists like Karen Budd-Falen,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project. “He doesn’t spend enough time in Washington to get anything done and he doesn’t spend enough time here in Montana meeting and listening to his constituents.”
Last legislative session, Daines failed to deliver on a key promise to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides vital funding to protect and preserve our public lands. Earlier this summer, Western Values Project launched a campaign demanding that Daines deliver and get the LWCF fully funded.
Earlier this week, residents in Missoula confronted Daines and demanded that he finally act and get the LWCF funded. Daines remained noncommittal on another anti-public lands zealot turned-acting director of the Bureau of Land Management William Pendley. Pendley wrote a controversial opinion piece in 2016 that argued for all federal public lands to be sold.
Background on Kaen Budd-Falen:
Budd-Falen has been described as “a darling of the original Sagebrush Rebellion” – a movement created to push for the privatization and sale of federal public lands. Budd-Falen worked against environmental and conservation policies at the Mountain States Legal Foundation – a group affiliated with the far-right American Legislative Exchange Council and the Koch Brothers’ oil fortune. Mountain States Legal Foundation’s past president, and now acting director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), William Pendley, believes that all federal public lands should be sold. Budd-Falen opposes critical wildlife protections like the Endangered Species Act and is credited as one of the architects of the public lands transfer movement.
For more information on Budd-Falen and the special interest lobbyists and political appointees at the Department of the Interior, visit https://departmentofinfluence.org/.