A poll released today by the Center for Western Priorities shows protecting access to our public lands is a top issue for Montana voters.
Eighty-four percent of those polled say they’re more likely to vote for a candidate who prioritizes protecting access to our public lands for hunting, fishing, and hiking.
“Public lands offer a promise to every hardworking Montana family that they can access and enjoy the best our state has to offer. A promise that says these places are for all of us, not just for the wealthy or the privileged,” Superintendent of Public Instruction and U.S. House candidate Denise Juneau said in a recent op-ed. “That is a promise I will keep to the people of Montana. I will always fight to protect access to our public lands and will never vote to transfer or sell them off.
Earlier this month, a University of Montana survey found the majority of respondents believe Montana’s public lands should not be sold or transferred. Most Montanans also believe our public lands create jobs.
Washington, D.C. Congressman Ryan Zinke doesn’t agree. This month, he voted to transfer public lands management to politically-appointed boards. Since then, sportsmen and conservationists have pummeled the Congressman in letters to the editor, news stories and blog posts. At least 11 groups, including Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, have come out in opposition to Congressman Zinke’s vote.
- Congressman Zinke voted for the Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act (H.R. 2316) which would transfer public lands management authority to politically-appointed advisory boards, and would sell-off up to 200,000 acres per national forest. [House Committee on Natural Resources, 6/15/16]
- Congressman Zinke supported a budget, which would have sold off our public lands in order to pay down the national debt. [Billings Gazette, 4/25/14]
- Congressman Zinke also supported a platform, which includes a resolution to sell off our public lands. [Great Falls Tribune, 10/7/14]
- Zinke opposed the bipartisan North Fork Watershed Protection Act, which would withdraw 430,000 acres of federal lands in Montana from development. [CBO, 2/10/14; GCRW, 5/21/14]