According to The Great Falls Tribune:
The director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has accepted an invitation from the Phillips County Commission to visit Malta in September. During the visit, Bob Abbey will talk about the agency’s internal planning for new land protections for the West, including Montana.
Gotta give the guy credit- here you have the head of the BLM heading to Malta for a public meeting. I wonder if our US Senators will do the same? Malta has really become ground zero in the debate over a new national monument that leaked documents say would stretch from Fort Benton to Fort Peck. Add to that, the existing concerns from Phillips County ranchers who see groups like the American Prairie Foundation buying out more ranchland and replacing it with bison preserves, and you find a community feeling like they themselves are about to be placed on the Endangered Species List.
The Tribune points out that the BLM director is planning to meet with residents in Malta, after more documents pertaining to the Obama Administration’s “Treasured Landscapes” initiative have become public.
The document set off a firestorm of criticism from members of the caucus, including U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., who accused the Obama Administration of trying to make a land grab. The BLM has said the document was only part of a vision process for the agency’s public lands, with any concrete action requiring public input.
Nonetheless, Rehberg is meeting this Friday with folks in Lewistown. According to his press release:
Along with Congressman Rehberg, the panel will include Ron Poertner and Matt Knox of the Missouri River Stewards; Leslie Robinson, Phillips County Commissioner; Art Kleinjan, Former Blaine County Commissioner; Dana Darlington, landowner and rancher, Big Sandy; Lee Cornwell, Owner, Cornwell Ranches, Glasgow; Mike Ereaux, Rancher, President of Phillips County Stockgrowers; Johnny Schultz, Vice Chair, Montana Public Lands Council; and Sean Gerrity, President, American Prairie Foundation.