Enviro Compares Timber Reform to Segregation

Well, it looks like MT Democrats continue to think that bashing Bozeman businessman Greg Gianforte over his Christian beliefs is going to help their cause in 2016.  That story is below.  

Plus, the Montana VA is obviously focused on June being LGBT Pride Month….but what about the fact that June is PTSD Awareness Month?

But first, even the radical liberal blogger Don Pogreba had to admit that he finally agrees with Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-MT) after this story from Montana Public Radio:

Michael Garrity of the Helena-based environmental group, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, doesn’t trust any of them to lead that charge.

“During the civil rights era we didn’t let the Mississippi congressional delegation try to solve civil rights problems. I don’t think our country is going to let the Montana congressional delegation try to solve environmental problems on our national forests,” says Garrity.

Republican Ryan Zinke says Garrity’s comment is out of line. “Trying to relate the civil liberties of Mississippi to our forests in Montana? That’s inappropriate and that’s exactly the problem.”

Havre Daily News (AP): Republicans shift strategy in effort to increase logging; Zinke bill part of the mix

Zinke sponsored a bill last week, House Resolution 2644, that has been merged with another bill by Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark ., to create a larger bill, Heather Swift, Zinke’s communication director said today.

The larger bill is the collaboration of Zinke and Westerman and is co-sponsored by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz. There will be additional committee-wide hearings Wednesday and Thursday, Swift said.

Under the proposed legislation, many projects fewer than 15,000 acres would be excluded from the required environmental review if the projects were designed to reduce hazardous fuel loads and disease, protect watersheds or improve critical habitat. That’s five times the current limit of 3,000 acres.

As I first reported here on The Flint Report, the VA in Montana is taking fire from veterans for flying the LGBT rainbow pride flag at Fort Harrison.  Their reasoning:  June is LGBT pride month.  Well, do you know what else June happens to be?  PTSD Awareness Month.  

As Tom Lutey reports, noting that the director of the Montana VA did not respond to requests for comment:

On social media, flag opponents began sounding off last week after Northern Broadcasting talk radio host Aaron Flint covered the subject in his conservative blog, “The Flint Report.”

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., echoed Parsetich’s sentiments about the pride flag. Daines did not ask for the flags’ removal, according to his staff.

“I agree with many Montana veterans that VA facilities should not be used to make political statements,” Daines said. “June is PTSD Awareness Month, and we would rather work with the VA to increase awareness of ongoing veterans’ health issues, like PTSD. Our office was contacted by several Montana veterans who were concerned about this issue. We reached out to the VA on their behalf to request information to relay back to these veterans.”

While Zinke was quoted as having no comment in the Lutey piece, here’s the statement his staff sent me:

ZINKE: “Nationally the VA system is backlogged, and is still struggling to care for the 100,000 veterans in Montana. The VA is wildly unprepared to adequately provide quality health care for the increasing number of women veterans, and services for the 15,000 Montana veterans living with PTSD is limited, at best. We need to be fixing the problems of today and anticipating the upcoming barriers to quality health care services. All resources must be going toward helping our veterans receive the care they deserve. I would encourage the VA to focus its efforts on ways to improve women’s health and mental health services and shorten wait times before engaging in advocacy campaigns. The controversy it generates is an unfortunate distraction from essential role and mission of the VA: caring for our veterans.”

Zinke also joined me on Thursday’s Voices of Montana to address the issue head on.  We also took several phone calls, and spent most of the show discussing timber reform legislation mentioned above.

Meanwhile…when it comes to a potential 2016 gubernatorial contest, it looks like Montana Democrats continue to think that bashing Bozeman businessman Greg Gianforte for being a Christian is a winning strategy.

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