Just last week, June 22, Weyerhaeuser announced that it was cutting 100 Montana timber jobs in Columbia Falls. On the heels of that announcement, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte is arguing that the Governor of Montana should play a bigger role in protecting the timber industry.

"I think there is more we can do to help the timber industry," Gianforte said. "In particular, our legislature took the effort of creating a Hazardous Fuel Reduction Fund, it's five million dollars over each biennium. I called last year for the Governor to release that money so we can start managing our forests and getting some timber coming into our mills, he has not released the full amount, I think we need to do this."

Gianforte also believes Montana should make use of a portion of the Farm Bill called the Good Neighbor Authority.

"The Good Neighbor Authority gives the ability for the Governor to negotiate with the Forest Service to do timber projects for health and safety," Gianforte said. "The state of Wisconsin has enacted this Good Neighbor Authority and they've increased production on one forest by twenty five percent. 18 states have used this tool, the Good Neighbor Authority in the Farm Bill, but Montana isn't one of them."

KGVO news has reached out to Governor Steve Bullock’s campaign for a response on the issue, but has not yet received one. Despite the recent closure by Weyerhaeuser, the issue of Montana’s timber industry did not play a big role in last Sunday’s gubernatorial debate.