Opinion: Tester’s Montana forest jobs bill would boost state industry

As timber mill owners and managers in Montana, we’re disappointed that the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, a bill to create jobs for loggers and millworkers, was prevented from passing in Congress last week. Hundreds of workers in our mills, along with hundreds of independent contractors and vendors we work with, all supporting hundreds of families and whole communities throughout western Montana, are disappointed by congressional inaction on this bill.

For the last 5 years, we’ve been working closely with people we don’t always agree with us. Together, we’ve developed a new way to approach forest management that creates jobs by requiring more work to get done in the woods while also protecting the places that we all love to hunt and fish.

But, we’re not going to give up. The gridlock in the forests – not to mention Congress – bolsters our belief that Montanans have far more to gain by focusing on our agreements instead of our differences.

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