Tester: Forest Service ‘found a loophole,’ ‘cut a deal’ on Holland Lake Lodge expansion

Holland Lake - USFS
Holland Lake – USFS

Senator Tester doesn’t have a clear understanding of categorical exclusions, but he sure knows an end-run when he sees it…

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana grilled the chief of the U.S. Forest Service this week about its initial decision — since reversed — to give an expansion plan at Holland Lake Lodge an exemption from a thorough environmental review.

Tester said Congress meant that type of exemption — called a “categorical exclusion” — to be used for projects that protect communities from wildfires.

At least he wouldn’t have supported it for “making some corporation rich off our public lands,” Tester said.

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