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Apr 4, 2013 7:47 PM by MTN News

Daines visits Livingston lumber mill to address lumber shortage

LIVINGSTON - Congressman Steve Daines continues his statewide natural resources tour with a stop at Livingston's RY Lumber Mill on Thursday.

Officials with RY Lumber say they have logged just about all the private land they can and are now running low on supply. They hope Congressman Daines will take their concerns back to Washington.

"So we're looking at talking to the congressman a bit about how we can speed up the sale of timber and try to eliminate some of the road blocks that the agency faces trying to get wood out there on the market," said Timber Resource Manager Ed Regan.

Daines spent the first part his Thursday tour in a closed door meeting with RY Timber officials experienced mill operations first hand.

"It's great to see the saw mill up and running and we're starting to see the housing market turn around also," said Daines.

While the mill is running, RY Lumber's Resource manager Ed Regan says time is working against them.

"What's left is mostly on forest service and it's mostly dead and it needs harvesting and there's a short window for that," Regan said.

Daines says he is confident he will reach a solution.

"The problem here is that there are frivolous lawsuits from extreme environmental groups that are shutting the forest down. I am looking into legislation that would stop that," said Daines.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies is one of the environmental groups that filed suit to stop the sale of timber on forest service land.

We checked with the executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. In Mike Garrity's opinion, Daines is backing the timber industry and supporting corporate welfare.

"More government spending when he is advocating more money losing logging by the Forest Service," Garrity said. "The federal government should follow the law just like everyone else and quit putting forward illegal timber sales."

Daines will end his tour on April 5 in Billings. He will meet Greg Schaefer, Arch Coal Vice President of Government Affairs for Western Operations, and Mike Rowlands, Otter Creek Coal Director of Operations, to discuss coal production in southeastern Montana and the status of the Otter Creek project.

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