Montana comes together


We try to highlight partnerships wherever we can on the One Voice blog because in the end, it’s inspiring to see all the stakeholders come together for a common solution. Of course that solution usually isn’t perfect, but it’s often better than deadlock.

The news out of Montana this week is that a coalition made up of the Wilderness Society, lumbermen, economic development officials and the U.S. Forest Service has come together to apply for $90 million in federal funds to restore, harvest and thin forests, whack weeds and fix streams, trails and wildlife habitat.

It sounds like the coalition has a good chance of getting the money, according to the article in the Missoulian.

The partnership could be an inspiration for similar deals in other states.

Letters of support already have arrived from Montana senators and county commissioners, from the Montana Logging Association and the National Wildlife Federation, and from the Wilderness Society and Pyramid Mountain Lumber, to name a few.

“It’s incredibly broad-based,” (said Rosalie Sheehy Cates, president of the Montana Community Development Corp). “That’s what makes it so appealing, is everyone’s at this table…”

“…We have been working for years in western Montana to unite the goals of forest health and local livelihoods,” Sheehy Cates said. “This proposal funds the work that accomplishes both.

“This is the future of forest management on federal lands.”

In other news, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just ruled that biomass plants are not exempt from greenhouse gas permitting requirements. The federal government says that it hasn’t taken a “final position” on the issue, but the decision still came as a surprise to biomass industry leaders.

And as part of the 30th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption, an 83-year-old man who used to log near the mountain told the Longview Daily News that it was lucky the eruption happened on a Sunday. Otherwise, hundreds of loggers would have been working nearby and may have died in the blast.