As Montana Forest Products Week approaches (October 18 -24), potential Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Gianforte is putting some pressure on Governor Steve Bullock to do something to help the timber industry.

Gianforte says if he were governor he would immediately release $5 million from the state’s fuel reduction fund to put the timber industry to work.

"My heart just breaks for these 500 families who have lost their jobs in the timber industry this past year," Gianforte said. "If I were governor, I’d direct the DNRC to move forward, set clear timelines, get people to work, and wood fiber moving from forest to mill. Time is of the essence.Whatever we can do to help this important Montana industry needs to be done.Susan and I raised all four of our kids here in Montana, and keeping our kids and your kids here in Montana with high wage jobs is my number one priority."

This is nearly identical to the action called for by Executive Vice President of the Montana Wood Products Association Julia Altemus earlier this month, when Altemus asked the governor to tap into funds set aside by HB 354 in 2013 and laid out how the money would help the timber industry.

"We would run it through the mills and people back to work," said Altemus. "$5 million in western Montana, around the mills, would actually produce about 17 jobs per 1 million board foot harvested," Altemus said. "When we spent 8 million one time on a jump-start, I think we harvested about 5,000 acres worth of timber."

Bullock will likely be asked to stake-out a position on this issue when he visits the Bonner Mill next Tuesday to present the “Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Utilization and Promotion of Montana Wood” to the Willis Enterprise’s pulp log chipping operation.