Daines – Zinke – Perdue – Gianforte At Lolo Peak Fire Camp
Four of the movers and shakers in Washington, D.C. were at the Lolo Peak Fire Camp on Thursday speaking about just one subject; changing the way government manages America's forests.
Montana Senator Steve Daines, Representative Greg Gianforte, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stood before a group of reporters to talk about the seemingly unending summer fire seasons in Montana and throughout the west.
Hear the full press conference below..
"Montanans are saying, we're tired of breathing the smoke'," said Senator Steve Daines. "Either we are going to better manage our forests, or the forests are going to manage us. When I left Washington in August the top 10 fires in the nation were right here in Montana. We're spending far too much time fighting fires, when we need to spend a lot more time managing our forests."
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he and his fellow Trump administration cabinet member Ryan Zinke are both working toward the same goal.
"Secretary Zinke of Interior and we at the USDA have joint responsibilities for these public lands, and what we want to learn is how we can get ahead of these forest fires," Perdue said. "We can't do anything about the weather, but we can work on forest management."
One of the topics raised during a press conference focused on fixing the Equal Access To Justice Act, that is seemingly being used to slow down or even block efforts to clean out dead timber from national forests.
Greg Gianforte said, " The Equal Access To Justice Act was enacted for a good reason, but it's been hijacked by environmental extremists who are using it to create a business model to essentially shut down every forest management project in the state."
Senator Steve Daines pointed out the town of Libby, Montana.
"They used to be called the Libby Loggers, but now they should be called the Libby Lawyers, It is the lawyers who are fronting for these extreme environmental groups who are having a devastating impact by not allowing us to move forward on some common sense timber projects."
Following the press conference, the officials toured the camp and received an update on overall fire operations.