Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act gets hearing in D.C.

Montana rancher Dusty Crary doesn't want the federal government to change anything about the Rocky Mountain Front — and that's exactly why on Thursday he asked Congress to pass the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, which would add protections to the land. "We just realize that unless you put it in writing, there is no guarantee that it will stay the same," the Choteau cattle rancher told senators at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests. The subcommittee is part of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., introduced the Rocky Mountain Heritage Act in October. If approved, the act would add 67,000 acres of new wilderness to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, and designate another 208,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land as conservation management areas. Under the bill, the conservation management area designation would limit road building, while allowing current motorized recreation and public access for hunting, fishing, biking, timber thinning and grazing. No oil or gas leases exist in the area covered by the proposed law, and the area already is permanently closed to new exploration and development, so there would be no impact on the oil and gas industry, according to proponents of the measure...more

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