Tag Archives: Northern Cheyenne Lands Act

Woo-hoo! Senate passes defense bill with North Fork and Rocky Mountain Front additions intact

At 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, the annual National Defense Authorization Act, along with a package of Montana lands bills including the North Fork Watershed Protection Act and the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, was passed by the Senate and sent on to President Barack Obama’s desk for signature.

This is very good news for the protection of the North Fork. It is also excellent news for our friends on the Rocky Mountain Front, not to mention carrying with it the first new wilderness additions in Montana in 31 years.

Here’s the lead-in for an early article in the Missoulian. We’ll add links to more coverage (see below) as it occurs . . .

The Senate voted to pass its annual National Defense Authorization Act on Friday , sending Montana’s first wilderness additions in 33 years to President Barack Obama’s desk.

The vote wound up at 3 p.m. after several attempts to add amendments and return it to committee. The final tally was 89-11, with both Montana Democratic senators Jon Tester and John Walsh voting in favor. Walsh held the gavel as Senate chairman at the start of the vote.

The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes $585 billion in Pentagon discretionary spending and $63.7 billion in overseas contingency operations. Those dollars go to things like developing the F-35 fighter jet, maintaining nuclear weapons, operating aircraft carriers and paying military personnel.

It also includes a package of 70 public land management bills; the biggest collection since the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. They create about 250,000 acres of new wilderness designations and protection of other lands from energy development…

Read more . . .

More coverage:

Senate passes North Fork, Rocky Front bill (Hungry Horse News)

Senate Approves Montana Lands Package (Flathead Beacon – good article)

Congress Approves Montana Wilderness (Associated Press)

Tester: U.S. Senate maneuvers kept land bills uncertain until final vote (Missoulian)

Montana lands package roll-up nears finish line

An “historic” lands package including provisions of significant impact on Northwest Montana approaches a critical vote in the Senate . . .

A raft of public lands measures is headed for a vote in the U.S. Senate this week following a last-minute series of negotiations between the state’s congressional leaders, who together marshaled a bundle of Montana bills into the historic package.

The product of 11th-hour arbitrations that nearly collapsed in the waning moments of Dec. 2, the sprawling lands package was rolled into the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass piece of legislation that has lawmakers optimistic it would sail through the Senate with the lands bills intact.

Read more . . .

Conservationists wonder what’s next for Montana lands

This is the conclusion of a two-part series by Rob Chaney of the Missoulian on the roll-up of Montana land-use legislation inserted into the National Defense Authorization Act last week . . .

While everyone wonders if the U.S. Senate will pass a huge package of public lands legislation this week, many Montanans are already looking beyond the fate of the two wildland protection bills in the mix.

“The positive thing is a logjam is going to break loose,” said Scott Bosse of American Rivers in Bozeman. “That helps future conservation bills. I think members of our delegation were reluctant to take on other big projects as long as the logjam existed.”

Wilderness advocate Steward Brandborg felt quite the opposite…

Read more . . .

Montana wilderness bill a product of last-minute horse-trading

This is part one of a two-part series by Rob Chaney of the Missoulian on the roll-up of Montana land-use legislation inserted into the National Defense Authorization Act last week . . .

Years of legislative wrangling squeezed down to hours of last-minute negotiating to get a bundle of Montana land bills into the National Defense Authorization Act last week.

“We were not sure what was going to be in the package until 11 p.m. Tuesday night,” Rep. Steve Daines, R-Montana, said Friday. “There’s a lot of pieces in that package. It was late in the game before we could see what was going on.”

For Montana Democratic senators Jon Tester and John Walsh, the legislative work started in October. But the final horse-trading took place just days before all three members of the congressional delegation stood together to announce their achievement on Wednesday.

Read more . . .

House passes defense bill that includes Rocky Mountain Front, North Fork provisions

The defense bill passed the U.S. House this afternoon, including the provisions for the various Montana conservation and lands legislation packages. Next week, the bill is debated in the Senate, a much higher hurdle . . .

The U.S. House on Thursday passed a defense spending bill containing a broad public lands package for Montana, including new wilderness on the Rocky Mountain Front, a ban on mining near Glacier National Park and changes supporting oil exploration and grazing on federal land.

The Republican-controlled House voted 300-119 for the $585 billion defense policy bill, which funds U.S. troops, military operations, ships, planes and war equipment. Montana’s only House member, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, a Republican, voted for it.

The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration, where a vote is expected next week.

Read more . . .

‘Historic’ Montana lands conservation bill roll-up merged into defense bill

Montana’s congressional delegation is taking another swing at getting several long-delayed lands use bills passed. This time around, they’ve rolled up the whole collection, including the North Fork Watershed Protection Act and the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, and merged it with the pending defense spending bill, a “must pass” piece of legislation.

Here’s the lead-in from the Hungry Horse News, along with links to additional local coverage . . .

Montana’s Congressional delegation announced Dec. 3 they have come together on an agreement for a major land-use bill that rolls several pieces of key conservation legislation into a defense spending bill that could pass Congress in the coming days.

In a conference call Wednesday morning, Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh and Rep. Steve Daines said the North Fork Watershed Protection Act, the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, the Northern Cheyenne Lands Act and several other lands-use bills would be merged into the legislation.

“Today is an historic day for Montana,” Tester announced.

Read more . . .

Further reading:

‘Historic’ Montana Lands Package to Advance – Flathead Beacon

Front, North Fork, other Montana lands bills set to advance – Missoulian

Poised for Protection – Montana Wilderness Association