For the first time since it was originally introduced into the U.S. Senate in 2017, the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act has cleared committee hearings and could be ready for action on the Senate floor.
But that’s no guarantee that Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, will succeed with his fourth attempt to designate about 79,000 acres of western Montana as new wilderness while opening other areas to logging and recreation. Tester, the state’s senior senator, previously introduced the BCSA in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The bill died in committee in each of those last congresses. He introduced the bill a fourth time in the 188th Congress on June 22 this year.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, speaks to a crowd of people about the ongoing work on the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act during an event at The Trail Head store on Front Street on Friday afternoon.
BEN ALLAN SMITH, Missoulian
On Sept. 21, the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources did something with Senate Bill 2149 it hadn’t done with the three prior bills: It passed the bill and sent it to consideration