U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte (R) Montana spoke on Tuesday to the Montana Counties Forest Summit at the Holiday Inn Downtown about forest management reform.

“We’re on our small business tour throughout the state, and there is a forest management conference going on today in Missoula between the U.S. Forest Service, the DNRC, and county commissioners, and we’re all sick and tired of breathing our forests instead of managing them, so I’m bringing an update on the progress we’ve been making in Washington to get common sense forest management in place so we can start managing our forests instead of breathing them,” said Gianforte, who said the House of Representatives recently passed a bill called the Resilient Federal Forests Act.

“We voted that out of the House last November and it’s still sitting in the Senate after eight months, so what we’ve done is breaking it into pieces and putting it into other ‘must-pass’ legislation, Components have been placed inside the Farm Bill, which will be voted on in the next few weeks.”

Gianforte said a continuing hurdle is the seemingly never ending legal battles over forest management.

“The reality is we don’t have a forest management problem, we have a litigation problem,” he said. “Frivolous lawsuits by environmental extremists are tying up our forest management projects, so we need tort reform to make sure that everyone’s voice can be heard, and that some other people can profit from taxpayers.”

Gianforte will next travel to the Flathead Valley and then to Great Falls to visit more small businesses.