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What a difference between Senator Daines’ speech and Senator Tester’s speech on the Senate floor. (

Daines blames the extent of Montana’s 2017 wildfires largely on “radical environmentalists” who litigate logging projects. He forgets to mention the earth’s warming climate. He implies that a proposed thinning project north of Lincoln would have minimized the effects of the Arrastra-Park Creek fire complex. That seems highly doubtful, given the record heat and drought which Montana has experienced this summer.

Tester emphasizes global warming and Montana’s historic drought of 2017. As an example, he points to one of the largest, most destructive fires in the West, the Lodgepole Complex fire which burned more than 270,000 acres of mostly grasslands, scattered brush and small trees in eastern Montana. There were no logging projects for “radical environmentalists” to litigate in that area.

Montanans support good forest management on our public lands, and like Daines, most folks believe that much of the litigation by environmental groups is self-defeating. However, the truth about this summer’s wildfires is that no amount of forest management, i.e. logging and thinning, would have had much effect in stopping or slowing the 2017 fires. Thanks to all the hard-working firefighters for trying!

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Gene Sentz



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