Missoula, Montana — The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Victory Fund today announced a $990,000 ad campaign exposing Maryland real estate developer Matt Rosendale’s ties to the Wilks brothers, Texas billionaires notorious for buying up property in Montana and blocking access to public lands.
Rosendale’s company has received thousands in royalties from the Wilks brothers, who lease two oil rigs on his property, and Rosendale supported legislation they pushed that was criticized as a move towards privatizing elk hunting. The Wilkses have repeatedly tried to block access to public land including Durfee Hills, a popular spot for elk hunting.
“Matt Rosendale has a history of developing lands, not protecting them for Montanans to enjoy for generations to come,” said Robin Saha, board vice chair of Montana Conservation Voters. “It’s no wonder Rosendale has secretive ties to the Texas billionaire Wilks brothers — other out-of-staters who’ve blocked access to public lands. Montanans simply can’t trust East Coast developer Matt Rosendale.”
The campaign includes statewide television and digital ads that will run on social media and video streaming services. In addition to highlighting Rosendale’s connection to the Wilks brothers, the ads also call out Rosendale’s own record of supporting efforts to end federal protection for public lands.
“Rosendale made ending federal protection of public lands a centerpiece of his political career,” said Pete Maysmith, LCV Senior Vice President for Campaigns. “Montanans deserve a senator who will fight for their right to hunt, fish and hike in our public lands and waters — not sell out to billionaires like the Wilks brothers.”
A script of the ad and more background on Rosendale’s public lands record and ties to the Wilks brothers can be found below. Full research backup for the television ad is available here.
The Texas billionaire Wilks Brothers. They’re the largest private landowners in Montana.
Their candidate — East Coast developer Matt Rosendale.
They backed his campaign and even gave him a lucrative deal worth thousands in royalties.
No wonder Rosendale backed legislation benefiting the Wilks Brothers — as they blocked hunters’ access to public lands, even Elk herds.
Matt Rosendale’s for them — not us.
LCV Victory Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising.
BACKGROUND ON MATT ROSENDALE’S TIES TO THE WILKS BROTHERS AND RECORD ON PUBLIC LANDS:
Rosendale “Earned Millions As A Real Estate Developer In Maryland” Before Moving To Montana In 2002. According to the Great Falls Tribune, “Rosendale, 56, earned millions as a real estate developer in Maryland before relocating with his wife and three children to Montana in 2002.” [Great Falls Tribune, 11/9/17]
Rosendale, “A Maryland-Born Real Estate Developer, Vacationed In Montana For Years Before Moving To The State” According to Montana Standard, “Rosendale, a Maryland-born real estate developer, vacationed in Montana for years before moving to the state 16 years ago, buying a ranch outside Glendive.” [Montana Standard, 7/31/17]
“Rosendale, Originally From Maryland, Moved To Montana In 2002, After Buying A Ranch” Near Glendive, Montana. According to KTVQ Billings News, “Rosendale, originally from Maryland, moved to Montana in 2002, after buying a ranch north of Glendive.” [KTVQ Billings News, 7/31/17]
TEXAS BILLIONAIRE WILKS BROTHERS ARE THE LARGEST PRIVATE LANDOWNERS IN MONTANA
The Wilks Brothers, Worth $2.7 Billion, “Joined An Elite Group Of Super PAC Bankrollers” In The 2016 Presidential Election. In a profile of the Wilks brothers, CNN’s Kyungh Lah said: “In this town of 4,000, the Wilks are Cisco pride and folklore, local sons of a modest bricklayer made their way into the new oil, fracking. Their expansive home tells their story of a billionaire fortune. These remote compounds are some of the few outward signs of wealth here in Cisco, small reminders that these brothers are worth $2.7 billion, according to “Forbes.” So, a $15 million political contribution? That’s less than 1 percent of the brothers’ net worth. The Wilks joined an elite group of super PAC bankrollers to super PAC Conservative Solutions.” [CNN Erin Burnett Out Front, 10/19/2015]
In Three Years, The Wilks Brothers Became The Largest Private Land Owners In Montana. According to the Billings Gazette, “In three years, Wilks and his brother, Dan, have become the largest private landowners in Montana after earning an estimated $3 billion from selling their Texas oil fracking business. To consolidate their holdings in Fergus County, the brothers approached the BLM last year to discuss a land exchange.” [Billings Gazette, 8/28/15]
ROSENDALE IS GETTING OIL ROYALTIES FROM THE WILKS BROTHERS
Matt Rosendale Is President Of MBA Consultants Inc, A Maryland Corporation Doing Business In Montana. According to records from the Montana Secretary of State, Matthew M Rosendale Sr of 1954 Hwy 16, Glendive, Montana, is the President of MBA Consulting, Inc, a corporation organized in the State of Maryland on December 30, 1999, and registered to do business in Montana on March 12, 2003. [Montana Secretary of State business entity #F040979; Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation Business ID#D05607569]
By Acreage, 99.99% Of Matt Rosendale’s Ranch Is Owned Through MBA Consultants, Inc. According to Montana property tax assessment records, MBA Consultants Inc owns 8,944 acres in 27 parcels of land in Dawson County, MT, however Matthew R and Jean F Rosendale jointly own a 1.05 acre homesite carved from the land owned by MBA Consulting, Inc. Of the total combined acreage of the ranchland and home, 99.99% of the land is owned by MBA Consulting, Inc. [Montana Department of Revenue Property Record Card, Parcel #16-2836-19-3-01-04-0000; Montana State Library Cadastral Mapping Project]
MBA Consultants Inc Owns 8,944 Acres In Dawson County, MT. According to Montana property tax assessment records, MBA Consultants Inc owns 8,944.052 acres in 27 parcels of land in Dawson County, MT with property taxes registered with a billing address of 1954 Hwy 16, Glendive, MT. [Montana State Library Cadastral Mapping Project]
MBA Consultants Generates Between $100,001 And $1,000,000 In “Rent/Royalties” Income For Matt Rosendale. According to a financial disclosure statement with the Secretary of the Senate as a candidate for the US Senate on June 6, 2018, Matt Rosendale hold an investment through MBA Consultants Inc worth $5 million to $25 million in a farm at the location 1954 Hwy 16, Glendive, MT and earns “Rent/Royalties” income between $100,001 and $1,00,000 from the property. [Matt Rosendale Financial Disclosure Statement Filed 6/2/2018]
Great Falls Tribune: “Interstate Explorations LLC Is Owned By Dan Wilks, One Of The Wilks Brothers Who Own Montana’s N Bar Ranch.” On August 20, 2015, the Great Falls Tribune reported on a series of well permits, noting: “In Dawson County, the permit for the Star Bar Ranch 3-1, with a proposed location at NE NW 27-19N-56E (330 FNL/1710 FWL) expired. Interstate Explorations, LLC was the operator of record. Interstate Explorations, LLC is owned by Dan Wilks, one of the Wilks Brothers who own Montana’s N Bar Ranch.” [Great Falls Tribune, 8/20/2015]
Interstate Exploration, LLC Has Had A Productive Oil Well On Land Leased From MBA Consultants In Dawson County Since 2013. According to records filed with the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation, Interstate Exploration, LLC applied in April of 2013 for a permit to drill for oil at a location under lease from MBA Consultants in Section 34, T19N, R56E of Dawson County, Montana. The well, named “MBA Consultants 1-1” targeted the Red River formation and was drilled to a depth of 12,000 feet. The well was spud on October 15, 2013 and final depth was reached on October 26, 2013. The well began production in July of 2014 and with an initial production of 18 barrels of oil per day. The well had produced 391 barrels of oil in its first full month of operation. [Montana Board of Oil & Gas Conservation Well File, API #25021211950000, Montana Board of Oil & Cast Conservation Well Production Report, API #25021211950000]
Interstate Explorations, LLC Leased A Well Site In 2015 From MBA Consultants, Drilled For Oil, And Later Converted It To An Injection-Disposal Well. To According to records filed with the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation, Interstate Exploration, LLC applied in June of 2015 for a permit to drill for oil at a location under lease from MBA Consultants in Section 11, T18N, R56E of Dawson County, Montana. The well, named “MBA 2” targeted the Tyler Sand formation and the target depth on the permit application was 13,000 feet. The permit was approved on July 10, 2015. No written completion reports or production data on this well were available, however a notation in the BOGC wells database indicated that the well was completed on November 16, 2016 and converted to an injection well on April 10, 2017. [Montana Board of Oil & Gas Conservation Well File, API #25021212020000]
MBA Consultants Had To Split Oil Royalties On The MBA Consultants 1-1 Well With The State Of Montana, Resulting A Rate Of 9.375% To Be Paid To MBA Consultants For All Oil Production. In A On March 23, 2015, the Montana Board of Land Commissioners approved a communitization agreement involving Interstate Explorations, LLC’s MBA Consultants 1-1 Well. Because the well was drilled on a quarter section of land privately owned by MBA Consultants which was immediately adjacent to a tract owned by the State of Montana, spacing rules required a communitization agreement to split the royalty payments for resources extracted from the well. Under the agreement, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation would receive 8.335% of all oil production from the well (16.67% royalty rate x 50% tract participation) and MBA Consultants would receive 9.375% of all oil production (18.75% royalty rate x 50% tract participation). [Montana Board of Land Commissioners March 23, 2015 meeting agenda item 315-3]
MBA Consultants 1-1 Well Has Produced 4,705 Barrels Of Oil Worth An Estimated $241,000, Generating Estimated Royalties Of Around $22,000 For MBA Consultants. The Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation has monthly oil production reports for the MBA Consultants 1-1 Well. When the barrel production figures for each month of production on the well are multiplied by Montana Crude Oil price data for that month, a reasonable estimate can be ascertained for the value of the oil produced by the well. These values are only estimates. The value of oil produced in March of 2018 was calculated using February, 2018 prices, the most recent available data point from EIA. Since production began, the well has generated 4,705 barrels of oil. That oil could have potentially generated somewhere around $241,772.85 in revenue, which would mean $22,666.20 in royalties for MBA Consultants at a rate of 9.375%. [Montana Board of Oil & Gas Conservation Well Report, API #25021211950000; Energy Information Administration, Montana Crude Oil First Purchase Price, Montlhy, 1977-Present]
Rosendale Received Two Contributions Totaling $640 From Farris And Jo Ann Wilks In 2014 House Primary Campaign. According to the FEC, Farris and Jo Ann Wilks each made a single contribution on $320 to the House Primary campaign of Matt Rosendale on May 22, 2014. [FEC, 5/22/14; FEC, 5/22/14]
Rosendale Voted For SB 245 Bill To That Would Reinstate Late Cow Elk Hunts; Bill Was Passed By Senate But Vetoed By Bullock. Matt Rosendale voted in favor of Senate Bill 245. According to the Billings Gazette, SB 245 “would reinstate late cow elk hunts in Montana after the 11 week archery and gun seasons reignited the contentious debate over wildlife harboring during a Senate Fish and Game Committee hearing Tuesday. Senate Bill 245, sponsored by Sen. Doug Kary, R-Billings, would create a late cow elk hunting season running from Dec. 15 to Feb. 15. Hunters would be required to purchase a $10 endorsement to participate.” The bill was passed on a vote of 33 to 17. It was vetoed by Governor Bullock. [Billings Gazette, 2/11/15]
2015 Session: Darryl James, The Wilks Representative And Lobbyist, Testified In Support Of SB245, “A Bill Towards Privatizing Our Elk Populations.” According to the local blog EMWH.org, “This 2015 legislative session, HD 29 Rep. Bill Harris, an outfitting landowner representing the Wilks Brothers district where a fencing dispute on our BLM public lands involving the Wilks legal fence height, introduced a HB 557 to change Montana Legal Fencing description, REMOVING the height max of 48 inches. We also saw SB245, a bill towards privatizing our elk populations, thankfully vetoed. This bill saw Darryl James, the Wilks representative and lobbyist at the legislature advocating for this bill.” Darryl James was offered testimony in support of SB 245 at the Montana State Senate Committee on Fish and Game in February 2015. [EMWH.org, Viewed 4/11/18]; Montana Senate Committee On Fish And Game Minutes, 2/10/15]
Wilks’ Lobbyist Testified That The Wilks Want An Elk Management Plan That “Recognizes The Importance Of Private Property Rights.” During a committee hearing on Senate Bill 245 in the 2015 session of the Montana Legislature, Darryl James testified, saying: “Good afternoon Mr Chairman, members of the committee. For the record my name is Darryl James. Darryl is with two Rs, Y-L. Last name is common spelling. I come to you this afternoon representing the Wilks Montana Ranch Limited. It’s a holding company for several operating ranching units across the state. Two of which have been of particular public interest in the last year or two in Blaine and Fergus Counties. Public access has been a big issue to some of the most sizeable elk herds in the state and we’re actively right now working on a strategic elk management plan, particularly for the ranch in Fergus County, and this bill provides what we think is a very important tool to help manage those elk populations. The Wilks have an interest and the ability to improve access, but wish to do so in a strategic way, a scientifically sound way, that guarantees a high quality hunt and recognizes the importance of private property rights. We think this bill does that.” [Montana House Committee on Fish Wildlife and Parks hearing 3/12/2015]
Representative Of The Montana Wildlife Federation Said Opposed The Bill, Said It Did nothing To Address The Current Problem: “Nontraditional Landowners Who Harbor Game.” According to the Billings Gazette, “But George Golie of the Montana Wildlife Federation said the bill would do no good because it doesn’t address the current problem: nontraditional landowners who harbor game. J.W. Westman of the Laurel Rod and Gun Club said the state moved away from the late cow seasons because it wasn’t effective. Joe Perry, of the Montana Sportsman’s Alliance, said the bill would simply cater to outfitters on private land who allow their clients to hunt bull elk during the general season and then ask the public to come thin the cow elk during a game damage hunt. ‘Let’s not dance around,’ Perry said. ‘All of the tools are already in the tool box. Antlerless-only seasons will cure the problem.’” [Billings Gazette, 2/11/15]
Montana Sportsman’s Alliance Representative Said Bill Catered To “Outfitters On Private Land Who Allow Their Clients To Hunt Bull Elk During The General Season And Then Ask The Public To Come Thin The Cow Elk During A Game Damage Hunt.” According to the Billings Gazette, “But George Golie of the Montana Wildlife Federation said the bill would do no good because it doesn’t address the current problem: nontraditional landowners who harbor game. J.W. Westman of the Laurel Rod and Gun Club said the state moved away from the late cow seasons because it wasn’t effective. Joe Perry, of the Montana Sportsman’s Alliance, said the bill would simply cater to outfitters on private land who allow their clients to hunt bull elk during the general season and then ask the public to come thin the cow elk during a game damage hunt. ‘Let’s not dance around,’ Perry said. ‘All of the tools are already in the tool box. Antlerless-only seasons will cure the problem.’” [Billings Gazette, 2/11/15]
“Farris And Dan Wilks, Billionaire Brothers From Texas, Own Hundreds Of Thousands Of Acres Of Land Across The West And Have A Reputation For Closing People Out.” According to an online post from Western Priorities, “Farris and Dan Wilks, billionaire brothers from Texas, own hundreds of thousands of acres of land across the West and have a reputation for closing people out. […] Hunters are similarly frustrated in Montana, where the Wilks own approximately 300,000 acres of property. The Wilks’ private land surrounds a 2,700 acre parcel of prime elk habitat and U.S. public land known as the Durfee Hills. Earlier this year, the Wilks brothers built nine miles of fence that illegally encroached onto public property. With reclamation currently underway, hunters worry that the construction will interfere with the peak of archery elk season.” [Western Priorities via Medium.com, 10/3/16]
Wilks Brothers Built Nine Miles Of Fencing That Illegally Encroached On Durfee Hills Public Lands. According to the Billings Gazette, “A landowner’s fence that illegally encroached on public land in Fergus and Musselshell counties resulting in a lengthy federal investigation has been moved and altered, and remediation has been paid, according to a ranch representative. Under the terms of the settlement agreements, Wilks Ranch Montana Ltd. will perform rehabilitation and stabilization work valued at about $150,000 and will reimburse the Bureau of Land Management a little more than $71,000 to cover costs associated with the inquiry and survey, according to a BLM news release. The nine miles of new fence built in 2014 by a local contractor was meant to separate 2,700 acres of landlocked Bureau of Land Management and state property, known locally as the Durfee Hills, from the surrounding NBar and Pronghorn ranches, which are owned by billionaire brothers Farris and Dan Wilks.” [Billings Gazette, 7/21/16]
Conservation Advocate Said Wilks’ Brothers Fencing Had Been Installed Across A Road Used By Pilots To Intentionally Halt Plane Traffic And Cut Off Hunting Access. According to the Billings Gazette, “Kathryn Qanna Yahu, a Bozeman conservation advocate who had pressed the trespass issue, said the fence initially encroached on more BLM property near a road used by pilots to land their planes, but that section was moved before the BLM finished its survey. She claims the fence was first put in across the road to intentionally halt plane traffic and cut off hunting access. ‘We are fighting for keeping public lands in public hands and an accountability of what was done,’ she said. ‘If we had done this on the Wilkses’ land, there would be hell to pay.’” [Billings Gazette, 7/21/16]
Wilks’ Brothers Private Land Holdings Encircled Durfee Hills Public Lands. According to the Billings Gazette, “A landowner’s fence that illegally encroached on public land in Fergus and Musselshell counties resulting in a lengthy federal investigation has been moved and altered, and remediation has been paid, according to a ranch representative. Under the terms of the settlement agreements, Wilks Ranch Montana Ltd. will perform rehabilitation and stabilization work valued at about $150,000 and will reimburse the Bureau of Land Management a little more than $71,000 to cover costs associated with the inquiry and survey, according to a BLM news release. The nine miles of new fence built in 2014 by a local contractor was meant to separate 2,700 acres of landlocked Bureau of Land Management and state property, known locally as the Durfee Hills, from the surrounding NBar and Pronghorn ranches, which are owned by billionaire brothers Farris and Dan Wilks.” [Billings Gazette, 7/21/16]
Wilks Brothers’ NBar Ranch Surrounds One Of The Largest Herds Of Elk In The State. In March of 2018, the Billings Gazette reported, “The Wilkses’ first Montana purchase, in 2011, was the historic NBar Ranch, southeast of Lewistown. Within that ranch is a block of 2,700 acres of BLM land known as the Durfee Hills that has been a bone of contention between local hunters and the Wilkses. Because the Wilkses allow only limited public hunting and own so much acreage along Flatwillow Creek and the Little Snowy Mountains, the landowners have grown one of the largest herds of elk in the state, estimated at around 2,600 animals in Hunting District 411, north of the Little Snowies, and 4,800 in HD 530 south of the mountains.” [Billings Gazette, 3/20/2018]
May 2014 Primary Debate For Montana House Seat: Rosendale “Called For An Outright Return” Of Federal Lands “To The State.” According to the Associated Press, “Republican candidates for Montana’s open U.S. House seat took shots at one another Wednesday over their positions on abortion, gun rights, spending and health care in the final debate before Tuesday’s primary elections. […] About 35 percent of the land in Montana is controlled by the U.S. government. Rosendale and Turiano called for an outright return of those lands to the state.” [Associated Press, 5/29/14]
2014: Rosendale Said He Supported “Having The Federal Government Turn Over U.S. Forest Service And Bureau Of Land Management Lands To The State To Manage.” According to the Montana Standard, “Rosendale and Turiano supported the idea of having the federal government turn over U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands to the state to manage.” [Montana Standard, 5/29/14]
2014: Rosendale Proposed Transfer Of All Forest Service And Bureau Of Land Management Lands In Montana To The State To Manage And Control. According to the Montana Standard, “Republican U.S. House candidate Matt Rosendale is proposing that the federal government transfer Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands in Montana to the state to manage and control. Federal lands make up 35 percent of Montana.” [Montana Standard, 4/19/14]
At 2014 Republican Candidate Forum, Rosendale “Said He Strongly Supports Transfer Of Federally Managed Public Lands To The State.” According to the Clark Fork County Press, “At a recent Republican candidate forum, all fourteen legislative candidates participating from NW Montana said they would not vote for the CSKT water compact as currently written, would not vote for expansion of Obamacare in the form of Medicaid expansion, and will vote for legislation which returns the federal lands in Montana to the State of Montana as advocated by the American Lands Council. […] Matt Rosendale was the only US House congressional candidate who attended and addressed the audience. He said he strongly supports transfer of federally managed public lands to the state as well as real reforms in health care laws to eliminate frivolous lawsuits and let free markets work to make services truly affordable.” [Clark Fork County Press, 4/8/14]
2014: Rosendale Called For Return Of Federal Public Lands to State Of Montana. During a May 2014 debate for the Montana House Republican Primary election the candidates were asked about how to spur economic development in Western Montana and specifically, how the transfer of federal lands would could be a part of those plans. Rosendale replied: “I think we really have to focus on is the return of federal public lands to the control and management of the citizens of Montana. 35 percent of our state is federal public lands – that s forest service and BLM. […] So I’ve joined up with a 10 state coalition and we’re starting to see if we can pursue this concept and push it through Congress.” [Matt Rosendale at North Valley Pachyderm Club, 4/18/14]
Rosendale: Federal Lands “Need To Be Turned Back Over To The State Of Montana As They Were Intended, As They Were Intended So That We Can Manage Them.” During an April 2014 appearance at the North Valley Pachyderm Club, Matt Rosendale advocated for the returning of federal lands to the states commenting: “The last issue that I would like to talk about, and then I’ll open it up to questions is something that I know you all are very familiar with and that the control and management of these federal public lands. I’ve been working with a group for about six months now called American Lands Council. They’ve got a ten-state coalition and we’re trying to get the momentum going to take control and management and the ownership of those federal public lands – we’re not talking about park lands, we’re not talking about reservations – Park Service and BLM, and have those turned over to the state so that the state will be able to control those as state public lands. We’ve got tremendous environmental concerns which you all are aware of between the air quality and the water quality that so severely damaged because of these raging fires. We’ve got incredible loss of economic opportunities with all the mills shut down and the loss of good private sector jobs. […] And they’re denying incredible vast areas even from public access for recreation purposes and those areas need to be turned back over to the state of Montana as they were intended, as they were intended so that we can manage them.” [Matt Rosendale at North Valley Pachyderm Club, 4/18/14]
2014: Rosendale And “Liked-Minded People In 10 Other States Are Trying To Convince The Federal Government To Give Land Owned By The U.S. Forest Service And Bureau Of Land Management To The States.” According to the Havre Daily News, “Rosendale held a meet-and-greet with supporters at Wolfer’s Diner in downtown Havre. He and liked-minded people in 10 other states are trying to convince the federal government to give land owned by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to the states. Under state control, he argued, the lands would be used better for recreation and resource development. His belief in federal overreach was highlighted in his new commercials that are gaining state and even nationwide attention.” [Havre Daily News, 4/16/14]
Rosendale Argued That Under State Control, The “Lands Would Be Used Better For Recreation And Resource Development.” According to the Havre Daily News, “Rosendale held a meet-and-greet with supporters at Wolfer’s Diner in downtown Havre. He and liked-minded people in 10 other states are trying to convince the federal government to give land owned by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to the states. Under state control, he argued, the lands would be used better for recreation and resource development. His belief in federal overreach was highlighted in his new commercials that are gaining state and even nationwide attention.” [Havre Daily News, 4/16/14]
GOP Congressional Primary: Rosendale “Called For Outright Return” Of Federal Lands To The State. According to the Associated Press, “Republican candidates for Montana’s open U.S. House seat took shots at one another Wednesday over their positions on abortion, gun rights, spending and health care in the final debate before Tuesday’s primary elections. […] About 35 percent of the land in Montana is controlled by the U.S. government. Rosendale and Turiano called for an outright return of those lands to the state.” [Associated Press, 5/29/13]
Rosendale Pledged To “Place Control And Management Of Our Public Lands In Montana’s Hands” During 2014 House Campaign. According to an archived version of Rosendale’s 2014 house campaign website, “Federal mandates imposed on us by the Endangered Species Act are destroying our industries and denying Montanans the use and access of our public lands. I am the only Republican candidate with a consistent and proven record of defending private property rights for Montanans. In Congress, I will fight to not only place control and management of our public lands in Montana’s hands once again, but I will always defend our personal property from the government.” [mattformontana.com, Viewed 6/20/14]
Rosendale Called Federal Ownership Of Land Unconstitutional
Rosendale: “There Is No Call In The Constitution For The Federal Government To Own National Forests Or BLM Land And Just To Manage Those Additional Lands.” According to the Montana Standard, “‘The U.S. Constitution clearly defines the purpose for the federal government to retain land for post offices, batteries and thinks like that,’ Rosendale said. ‘There is no call in the Constitution for the federal government to own national forests or BLM land and just to manage those additional lands.” [Montana Standard, 4/19/14]
Rosendale At 2014 Event Asserted That The Constitution Does Not Provide For The Federal Government To Own The Land It Holds. During an April 2014 appearance at the North Valley Pachyderm Club, Rosendale discussed federal land ownership and said “And we got to the balance of Congress and we say, You swore to uphold the constitution of the United States. The Constitution does not provide for the federal government to own all that land. It says post offices, batteries, forts, not supposed to be all these vast areas.” [Matt Rosendale at North Valley Pachyderm Club, 4/18/14]
2011: Rosendale Was An Original Co-Sponsor Of H.R. 506, Which Would Have Attempted To Limit Federal Land Purchases In Montana And Allow State Management Of Federal Land. In February 2011, Rosendale was an original co-sponsor of legislation that was, according to the Havre Daily News, “House Bill 506 by Republican Rep. Derek Skees of Kalispell, is being heard Wednesday in the House Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications Committee. It would try to curtail future federal government land purchases in Montana and allow the state to reclaim existing federal land.” The legislation died in the House. [House Journal, 2/11/11; Havre Daily News, 1/16/11; Bill Actions, H.B. 506]
2015: Rosendale Voted For Legislation That Created A $35,000 Task Force To Study Federal Lands Management For All Federal Land Except National Parks And Wilderness Areas. In April 2015, Rosendale voted for a bill that would have, according to the Montana Conservation Voters, “created a new Public Lands Task Force—at a cost of $35,000—to study federal public lands management. Originally restricted to lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service, the task force was expanded to include all federal lands except for national parks and wilderness areas. That definition would have included Indian Reservations, the interstate highway system, national wildlife refuges, and Department of Defense lands such as Malmstrom Air Force Base and Army Corps of Engineer dams like Fort Peck Dam.” The vote was on the third reading. The Montana Senate agreed to the third reading, passing the bill, by a vote of 27 to 23. The bill was successfully vetoed by the governor. [Senate Vote 1728, 4/20/15; Montana Conservation Voters, 2015 Legislative Scorecard; Bill Actions, H.B. 496]
“The Task Force Was A Backdoor To Talks Of Transferring Or Selling Off Public Lands.” According to the Montana Conservation Voters, “While billed as a study of federal land management, the task force was a backdoor to talks of transferring or selling off public lands, a point made by Governor Bullock in his veto message. Proponents included Senator Jennifer Fielder and Citizens for Balanced Use. Opponents included the Montana Bow Hunters Association, Montana Sportsman Alliance, Montana Wood Products Association, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, outfitters, and conservation groups.” [Montana Conservation Voters, 2015 Legislative Scorecard]
In Op-Ed On Public Lands, Rosendale Supported Bills By Daines And Gianforte To Roll Back Wilderness Protections. In An Op-Ed To The Billings Gazette, Matt Rosendale Wrote: “Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte have proposed separate bills to release Wilderness Study Areas that the Forest Service and BLM determined – decades ago – were not suitable for wilderness. These bills allow public input on easing restrictions for recreational uses, while also ensuring these lands are protected from development and resource extraction. This is a fair approach.” [Billings Gazette, 4/28/2018]
Montana Wilderness Association Called Daines’ Wilderness Study Area Legislation “The Biggest Rollback Of Public Lands Protections In State History.” “Sen. Steve Daines blindsided public lands advocates in early December with a proposal to remove 449,500 acres across Montana from wilderness study area designation. Now those advocates are striking back against Daines’ Protect Public Use of Public Lands Act, a bill the Montana Wilderness Association describes as the biggest rollback of public lands protections in state history.” [Missoula Independent, 2/6/2018]
Montana Wildlife Federation Warned State Control Of Public Land Would Lead To Private Sales. In April of 2014, the Billings Gazette reported on proposals to transfer federal public lands to the state: “But Nick Gevock, outreach director for the Montana Wildlife Federation, adamantly opposed the idea. ‘This isn’t personal, but getting to the policy, I think it’s a horrible idea,’ Gevock said. ‘Montana has a $5.8 billion annual outdoor industry and these federal lands are absolutely essential to that. These are the places where Montanans hunt and fish and hike and ski and go wildlife watching, and that is essential to the quality of life here.’ Gevock also predicted that if the state took over the federal lands, Montana would have to sell off large swaths of land to private landowners in order to pay for firefighting costs. ‘We couldn’t afford to manage these lands,’ Gevock said. ‘It would be a budget buster for the state of Montana. Once those lands are in private hands, they are off-limits, or they very well could be.’” [Billings Gazette, 4/18/2014]
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Executive Director Land Tawney: “Look At History: States Have A Track Record Of Selling These Lands That Were Given To Them At Statehood.” In April of 2017, E&E Greenwire reported on proposals to transfer federal public lands to the state: “In challenging Chaffetz and other proponents of transferring federal land to individual states, sportsmen and conservationists often turn to one particular argument to shore up their opposition: Turning over public lands will result in states selling those parcels off to the highest bidder. ‘Look at history: States have a track record of selling these lands that were given to them at statehood,’ said Land Tawney, executive director of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, which led the protest against Chaffetz’s bill earlier this year. ‘The concern here is they’ve already done it, and they could definitely do it again.’” [E&E Greenwire, 4/11/2017]
Idaho Sold 41 Percent Of Land It Got From The Federal Government To Timber Companies, Ranchers, Fishing Clubs, and Homeowners. In May of 2016, E&E Greenwire reported: “Since Idaho became a state, it has sold 41 percent of its acres to timber companies, cattle ranchers, fishing clubs and homeowners on Priest and Payette lakes. Throughout its history, the state has sold 1,760,783 acres of the 4,254,448 acres that it obtained during statehood to private interests, according to an analysis of Idaho Department of Lands data acquired by the Wilderness Society. The society reviewed data of more than 16,000 parcels of land auctioned by the state and released the data in a report titled ‘SOLD! Idaho lands — and recreation access — lost to the highest bidder.’” [E&E Greenwire, 5/5/2016]
New Mexico Sold 30 Percent Of Land It Got From The Federal Government To Private Interests. In March of 2017, E&E Greenwire reported: “New Mexico has sold nearly 30 percent of the land it received from the federal government before becoming a state, an analysis by the Wilderness Society has found. The report looked at original state trust lands — 13.4 million acres transferred from the federal government to the then-territory more than 100 years ago. The Land of Enchantment has sold off 4 million acres of state trust lands since it joined the union in 1912, the group found. Wilderness Society New Mexico State Director Michael Casaus said the analysis should serve as a warning to residents, arguing that state officials could similarly dispose of federal lands if that acreage were turned over to state control.” [E&E Greenwire, 3/21/2017]
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