(CHOTEAU) –SO WHAT KIND OF A JOB IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOING

IN MANAGING U-S FOREST SERVICE LANDS.

ACCORDING TO THE TETON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS IN CHOTEAU, NOT

VERY GOOD.

THE COMMISSIONERS IN THEIR RESPONSE TO A SURVEY FOR THE STATE

ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY COUNCIL SAY, FOR EXAMPLE THAT PAYMENTS IN LIEU

OF TAXES AND THE SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS REVENUE SHARING PAYMENTS ARE NOT

EQUAL TO THE AMOUNT THAT ACTUAL LAND TAXATION WOULD BRING IN FROM

HARVEST OR EXTRACTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES.

STATE SENATOR JENNIFER FIELDER, THE SPONSOR OF MONTANA SENATE JOINT

RESOLUTION 15 SAID FOREST SERVICE ADMINISTRATORS HAVE PROVIDED TESTIMONY

TO A RESOLUTION WORKING GROUP CONFIRMING THAT “FEDERALLY MANAGED LANDS

ARE IN WORSE CONDITION TODAY THAT THEY WERE 50 YEARS AGO AND THAT THE

FOREST SERVICE BUDGET IS NOW PRIMARILY DEDICATED TO FIGHTING LAWSUITS AND

FIGHTING WILDFIRES INSTEAD OF PROVIDING HEALTHY, SUSTAINABLE SUPPLIES OF

TIMBER AND WATER IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE FOREST

SERVICE WAS CREATED.

TETON COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN  JIM HODGSKISS ALSO SAID THE LOCAL

COUNTY IS NOT GETTING THE BENEFIT OF JOBS OR ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY THAT

THE FOREST SERVICE LANDS ARE CAPABLE OF.    QUOTED IN THE CHOTEAU ACANTHA,

HODGSKISS SAID “WE BASE THAT ON THE HISTORICAL RECORD.   FOR EXAMAPLE, HE

SAYS, “THERE USED TO BE AT LEAST THREE SAWMILLS IN THE FOREST, PEOPLE MADE A

LIVING DOING THAT.”