Tester's Forest Jobs Bill Finally Moves Forward - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Tester's Forest Jobs Bill Finally Moves Forward

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After four and a half years in the making, one of Senator Jon Tester's landmark pieces of legislation is finally heading to the Senate floor.

Senator Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act won the support of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.

Tester said part of the challenge of moving it forward was winning over conservative support.

"We had a group of Montanans out here last week who met with the Republican senators that were a little bit reluctant to support this bill, and they got some of them to support it and that was very important," Tester said.

The bill would add more than 600,000 acres of forest across the state to permanent wilderness and calls for logging on more than 100,000 acres.

Tester says the bill could bring serious jobs to Montana while preserving public lands for generations to come.

"It really is a winner from my perspective, it's going to help create jobs. It's going to help businesses come to Montana and recruit top talent from Montana business. It's going to help support arguably the second largest industry in Montana and that's tourism," Tester said.

The bill builds off collaboration from logging and conservation groups, two opposing sides Tester says don't usually meet outside the courtroom.

The bill now moves on for a full Senate vote but Tester doesn't expect that to happen for a few months into the new year.
   

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