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HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 26
INTRODUCED BY R. BITNEY, P. CLARK, A. CURTISS, A. ELLIS, G. GOLIE, J. HARP, M. LINDEEN, J. QUILICI, P. SLITER, S. STANG, J. STOVALL
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA REQUESTING THAT THE CURRENT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT POLICIES ON NATIONAL FOREST ROAD CLOSURES AND OBLITERATION BE SUSPENDED AND THAT CONGRESS REAFFIRM ITS DIRECTIVES THAT FOREST LANDS BE MANAGED IN ACCORDANCE WITH FOREST PLANS THAT PROVIDE FOR MULTIPLE-USE MANAGEMENT.
WHEREAS, there are 737 million acres of forested land covering approximately one-third of the United States, a nation that has created the largest legally protected wilderness system in the world, while at the same time sustaining a highly productive and efficient wood products industry; and
WHEREAS, the federal government owns approximately two-thirds of the land in western Montana and these lands are primarily administered by the U.S. Forest Service; and
WHEREAS, the management of federal lands has a direct impact on economic and recreational opportunities and the quality of life for thousands of Montana residents; and
WHEREAS, Congress has declared in the federal Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 that national forests are established and must be utilized for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fishery purposes; and
WHEREAS, the national forest road system represents a significant capital infrastructure investment and a valuable existing forest asset for forest managers and the public, providing access for a multitude of recreational opportunities, for emergency response efforts, and for resource management, protection, and improvement activities; and
WHEREAS, the federal government continues to close roads to public access by motorized vehicles and, in early 1998, the forest service proposed and is now planning to implement an 18-month moratorium on all new road building in roadless areas pending a review of its road management policies; and
WHEREAS, one stated purpose of the moratorium is to close or obliterate existing roads, thus creating additional defacto roadless areas contrary to the interests of Montana's citizens; and
WHEREAS, the scheduled destruction of nearly 2,000 miles of roads in the 10 national forests in Montana can have significant environmental, economic, and cultural impacts upon the fabric of many Montana communities and its citizens; and
WHEREAS, 650 miles of forest system roads in the Flathead National Forest alone have been scheduled for obliteration and 200 miles have already been destroyed; and
WHEREAS, destruction or obliteration of existing forest system roads can cause short-term and long-term increased discharges of sediment to streams, adversely affecting certain sensitive or endangered fish species and resulting in further restrictions on other multiple-use activities.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
(1) That the 56th Montana Legislature opposes the current administration's policy on national forest road closure and obliteration and urges the immediate suspension of road closure and obliteration activities.
(2) That existing roads are a valuable and necessary capital investment in public lands that should not be lost or destroyed.
(3) That forest plans specifying multiple-use management for timber harvest, outdoor recreation, range, watershed, and fish and wildlife values should be given priority as the appropriate and necessary management guidance to the forest service.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be sent by the Secretary of State to the Montana Congressional Delegation, the Secretary of the federal Department of Interior, the Secretary of the federal Department of Agriculture, the Director of the United States Forest Service, the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the President and Vice President of the United States.
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Latest Version of HJ 26 (HJ0026.ENR)
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