Helena, Mont. -- In case you missed it, Congressman Rehberg's bill to let Homeland Security take "operational control" over the northermost 100 miles of Montana pass the U.S. House yesterday. The bill would let a single federal agency make decisions about Montana's public lands with no public input whatsoever.
Opposition to this bill has been intense, widespread, and it has come from across the political spectrum. Here's what opponents to Congressman Rehberg's land grab said after he moved it through the U.S. House yesterday:
From the Bozeman Chronicle:
Joe Perry of the Bozemanbased Headwaters Sportsmen Association farms land near Conrad that’s surrounded by forest that would fall within the zone. He said he has “a whole pocketful of concerns,” so many that he traveled to Washington, D.C., for four days in May to argue against the bill.
“As landowners, we’re fiercely independent, and this is an overriding sort of thing,” Perry said. “This is a top-down bill.”
From the Great Falls Tribune:
John Gibson, president of the Public Land and Water Access Association, said the last-minute amendments are “too little, too late.”
“They’ve only put lipstick on a pig,” Gibson said. “Handing all that control over to one agency who has no experience dealing with hunting and angling on public lands has unknown consequences for tens of thousands of sportsmen and women in Montana.”
From the Missoulian:
“In this zone, the most basic protections for our national parks, historic sites, and other protected areas may cease to exist at the whim of the Department of Homeland Security,” according to a statement from Kristen Brengel, the National Parks and Conservation Association’s director of legislative and government affairs. “This bill undermines basic national park protections based on the false premise that it is somehow impossible to secure our borders and protect our national heritage at the same time.”
From a guest editorial in the Billings Gazette:
"Terrorism works by turning the power of a stronger enemy against itself by fostering fear. HR 1505 would serve to do just that. And the federal agency whose sworn mission is to protect us from terrorism — the DHS — seems to agree."