In the ongoing land-transfer struggle, a few folks stand out—on both sides of the battlefield. Here’s a recap of admirable acts and shameful shenanigans for the 2015 legislative session.
Rep. Ed Lieser (D–Whitefish). A retired forester, Rep. Lieser fought in the trenches of the House Natural Resources Committee this session to push back against the radical land-transfer agenda, helping to defeat a number of dangerous measures in committee and on the floor.
Sen. Pat Connell (R–Hamilton). A true champion of collaborative natural-resource management, Sen. Connell worked across the aisle to bring people to the table to improve access and forest health rather than pursuing the out-of-step land-transfer agenda.
Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R–Thompson Falls). The Montana legislature’s chief proponent of transferring public lands, Sen. Fielder brought numerous bills (many of which were blatantly unconstitutional) that would have crippled our ability to effectively improve access and public-land management.
Rep. Kerry White (R–Bozeman). A longtime critic of Wilderness designation and advocate for increased motorized use on public lands, Rep. White worked to diligently advance the transfer agenda. As the Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, he sponsored the transfer-study bill that was vetoed by Governor Bullock.