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Gianforte Tells U.S. House Montana Fires ‘Equally Devastating Crisis’ to Hurricane Harvey

Little Hogback Fire
Photo Courtesy of MT Taylor Interagency Hotshots

While the U.S. House gathered to pass a nearly $8 Billion relief package for areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey today, September 6, Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte reminded the body that Montana was suffering from a natural disaster too, and is in need of help.

“We have 44 fires that have burned over 800,000 acres in Montana, it is catastrophic,” Gianforte said. “In fact, I stood up in front of my colleagues this morning here in Washington and made them aware of the devastation. I sent my thoughts and prayers out to the people devastated by the hurricane, but I said to them that we have an equally devastating crisis in Montana right now: from the air quality perspective, the loss of habitat for wildlife… and just the cost to all of our businesses that are constrained.”

Gianforte serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and says there are currently five bills that would change the Endangered Species Act that he says are ‘common sense’ changes. He believes too much money is being spent by the Forest Service on firefighting when more should be done to improve forest management.

“We need reform in the Endangered Species Act and also in Equal Access to Justice so that we can get forest management approved,” Gianforte said. “If we actually managed our forests, we’d have healthier forests, there would be more wildlife, more recreational opportunities as well as more jobs in our mills, also, we would have less severe and less frequent fires.”

Last week, Gianforte wrapped up a 56-county tour of Montana, his stop in Missoula County was at the Lolo Peak Fire with Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Perdue’s presence is a strong sign that change may be in the works as The Forest Service is administered by the Department of Agriculture.

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