Tuesday, June 18, 2024

May 29 letters to the editor: Blackfoot Clearwater stewardship

| May 29, 2024 2:00 AM

Support Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act

Public lands in the Blackfoot Clearwater area surrounding the Seeley Swan area feature diverse ecosystems, vital watersheds, and abundant wildlife. They are loved by outdoor enthusiasts and a major economic contributor to the local area and to Montana. The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act (BCSA) provides a comprehensive plan that will safeguard this landscape for present and future Montanans.

The BCSA will increase Wilderness, protect the Blackfoot and Clearwater Rivers, and promote sustainable recreation. The act has been years in the making and combines conservation and community needs. It ensures that future development will benefit local communities, steward the land, and allow for expanded recreational opportunities.

The BCSA brought together a variety of stakeholders, including community members, conservation groups, and the timber industry to work together. The result is a vision that will benefit each of them and our watershed, public lands, and wildlife habitat connectivity.

I am asking Representative Ryan Zinke to join the 85% of Montanans who support the BCSA by introducing this legislation in the House of Representatives. As western Montana’s representative, his leadership in introducing and advocating for the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act will ensure Montanans have a good shot at celebrating the passage of this vital and long-awaited conservation legislation during this Congressional session.

— Jeanette Hall, Whitefish

Reproductive Rights on the Ballot

Montana’s 1999 Armstrong ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court protects a woman’s right to privacy and access to abortion before fetal viability. It states, “unrelenting pressure from individuals and organizations promoting their own beliefs” are not permissible and are “morally indefensible.” Yet the Montana Republican trifecta have wasted a lot of time and taxpayer money passing laws to limit women’s reproductive healthcare.

Three laws invaded privacy, intimidated women with intrusive unwarranted medical procedures and restricted medication abortion by requiring two in-person visits to a provider in a state that spans 500 miles and has few abortion providers. All three laws were deemed unconstitutional and permanently blocked.

Because of unrelenting actions by Republican lawmakers in Montana, the Constitutional Initiative Cl-128 proposed ballot measure is being circulated for signatures to place it on the ballot. If approved, it will codify reproductive rights in the MT Constitution.

Across Montana, signature gathering volunteers are facing paid agitators opposing Cl-128 supported by the Montana Family Foundation. These individuals are following volunteers, interrupting conversations, & videotaping them even though State law prohibits physical intimidation of signature gatherers for ballot issues.

Cl-128 volunteers will not be deterred. Check your voter registration at: vote.gov. Make sure your vote counts.

— Betty Kuffel, Whitefish