Mac Minard: North Fork protection needs straight vote

Mac Minard, executive director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, is circulating a testy opinion piece on the legislative shenanigans hindering passage of the North Fork Watershed Protection Act . . .

North Fork protection passed the House but fell short in the Senate — for the wrong reasons.

The North Fork Watershed Protection Act is a bipartisan legislative effort that started with former Sen. Max Baucus in 1974, and represents locally driven efforts to protect the historic and majestic North Fork area in the Flathead Valley. The legislation has tremendous support within the outdoor community and has received endorsements from various groups concerned with land management decisions and conservation efforts.

Rep. Steve Daines joined the effort last year, and introduced a companion bill in the House. A few months ago, in what was nothing short of a herculean effort, freshman congressman Daines ushered the North Fork Watershed Protection Act through the House with strong bipartisan support — a huge milestone. The House passage of North Fork Watershed Protection Act, which has been around for several decades, represented the first time the bill passed either chamber of Congress.

However, two weeks ago, this important bill was blocked in the Senate by what can only be described as an election-year political stunt.

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