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Daines signals support for coal mine, logging

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm •  Published: April 5, 2013

After an announcement last week that he's sponsoring a bill to protect the North Fork Flathead River watershed in northwest Montana along the Canada border, Friday's comments put Daines squarely in the camp of business interests advocating for more development elsewhere in the state.

That stance is in line with the policies of Daines' predecessor, Republican Denny Rehberg, who lost a November bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

Daines said more public lands should be opened to logging, and that it was frustrating that many Montana communities suffered from poor air quality last year due to wildfires that charred huge expanses of U.S. Forest Service land — even as access to those lands for timber harvests is restricted.

Yet Daines, a former technology executive from Bozeman, insisted development can be done in a responsible way that preserves the state's natural heritage.

"Montanans want the ability to remain in this state with jobs and our natural resources are an important provider for that," he said. "They also want to be able to able to enjoy the outdoors and the quality of life. I think we can do both."