Mr. DAINES. Montana is well known for its millions of acres of forestland. As a result, acreage that would normally be privately owned and generating tax revenue to help fund local services is instead locked away by the Federal Government.
In 1908, President Teddy Roosevelt signed legislation ensuring that impacted communities will receive 25 percent of the receipts for timber harvests occurring on Forest Service lands. Because Montana has some of the most abundant forests, this commitment to robust timber harvesting also helped to provide jobs for thousands of families in my home State.
Sadly, timber harvests have plummeted by 90 percent in many areas due to out-of-balance Federal policies. Montana was previously home to 30 mills. It is now home to just seven. This means far fewer jobs for Montanans.
The Secure Rural Schools program has provided short-term relief, but revitalizing our timber industry is the only permanent solution to the problem President Roosevelt recognized 100 years ago. This is my number one priority as a member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands. I look forward to championing this issue.