Senator Tester’s 100% untrue statement about USFS Forest Plan Revision process: “Everything Stops.”

Last night on Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio there was a story about Senator Tester’s and Senator Daines’ effort to overturn a U.S. Federal District Court ruling (which was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court also refused to rehear the case) that they don’t like.

Here’s more information about Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. United States Forest Service.

The Tester/Daines public lands logging bill (S.605) has been called “just another cynical attack to weaken a key provision of the Endangered Species Act” by the Center for Biological Diversity.

On statewide Montana Public Radio Senator Tester said this:

“But Tester says a new forest management plan can take decades to write. So in the meantime:

Everything stops. All the recreational opportunities stop, the tree cuts stop, trail maintenance stops while they redo this forest plan.’”

The public must know that this statement from Senator Tester is 100% not true and doesn’t even contain an ounce of truth.

The truth is that all National Forests in Montana, and across America, are required by the National Forest Management Act to go through a Forest Plan Revision process every 15 years. At NO POINT during that Forest Plan Revision process does “Everything stop.”

At NO point during the Forest Plan Revision process does “All the recreational opportunities stop, the tree cuts stop, trail maintenance stops while they redo this forest plan,” as Senator Tester told Montana citizens.

I appreciate the fact that the reporter talked to someone at the Lewis and Clark National Forest who said revising a forest plan doesn’t stop work. But revising a forest management plan also doesn’t “hamper” it either, as the Forest Service employee apparently claimed.

This isn’t the first time Senator Tester has taken to Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio and demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of National Forest Management.

In February 2015 Senator Tester said on Montana Public Radio: “Unfortunately, every logging sale in Montana right now is under litigation. Every one of them.”

That statement was so entirely not true that the Washington Post’s official Fact-Checker (Glenn Kessler) investigated the statement and gave Senator Tester “4 Pinocchios” for telling “a whopper.”

This time, Senator Jon Tester has just told Montana citizens on statewide radio a huge lie about a very basic public lands management process.

Perhaps it was just a mistake, but regardless, Senator Tester’s statement is 100%, entirely not true and his office should immediately issue a correction so that Montana citizens don’t go around thinking that every time the U.S. Forest Service goes through a forest plan revision process that “Everything stops. All the recreational opportunities stop, the tree cuts stop, trail maintenance stops while they redo this forest plan.”

6 Comments

  1. “Trail maintenance stops”
    Yeah, right. Trail maintenance stops, and virtually everything else in the USFS that is not fire related stops, because Congress is apparently incapable of establishing a funding mechanism other than fire borrowing. And of course the fact that there hasn’t been a real rec budget in the USFS for more than a decade anyway. What a joke.

    • Yes, and according to Senator Tester while the U.S. Forest Service is going through a forest plan revision process ” All the recreational opportunities stop.”

      Bet that’s news to the public, eh? I agree it’s a joke, except for it’s not. These are the direct words of Senator Tester who is a very powerful Senator on these, and other, issues and fancies himself as a sort of public lands champion and expert.

  2. To be clear: no court ordered the Forest Service to complete a new management plan. The 2009 rule designating critical habitat said:

    Specific management recommendations for areas designated as critical habitat are most appropriately addressed in subsequent recovery and management plans. 74 Fed. Reg. 8615, 8623 (2009).

    To the best of my knowledge, the Forest Service is not putting together a new management plan. Instead, it is consulting with the FWS to ensure the current management plan does not allow for activities to adversely modify critical habitat. The DOJ has indicated that analysis should be done in November.

    Having consultation at the Plan level is important because the single reason Canada lynx were listed is because of inadequate regulatory mechanisms–forest plans were not strong enough. The plans take a big picture approach that the FWS said is needed to conserve and restore lynx.

    Senator Tester misspoke when he said that all recreation stops when the Forest Service is completing a new management plan. I bow hunted and rode my mountain bike in the Custer Gallatin National Forest about a week and a half ago and the Forest is in the process of completing a new forest plan.

  3. There are many examples of this type of misinformation out there about the Forest Service. I’m sure that this group could make a long list. In some cases, the misinformation is created/spread on purpose and in other cases it is spread out of ignorance. Lately I have been wondering if some of this misinformation is out there because the Forest Service does not do a good job of explaining its work to the public? Yes, we all see the little press releases here and there about Project X and Partnership Y, but that’s not enough, nor does it address the type of misinformation I commonly see. I have some older books/booklets I purchased on ebay – one is a book for middle school students about “the men and work of the Forest Service”. It’s from the 1960s, and has some great photos in it and covers everything from recreation to timber management to fire fighting. And, another one, from the 1930s, published by the Forest Service, “Taming Our Forests” – written for a more adult audience, with a 50 page or so explanation of the management strategy from the title. How do we get credible, correct information out there?

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