Walsh caught up in East Rosebud’s beauty

Photo by Kristan Apodaca

Montana Sen. John Walsh catches a Rocky Mountain Whitefish from the East Rosebud River as John Miller, President of the local Home Owners Association, looks on.

Montana Senator John Walsh (D) spent some time this last Saturday at East Rosebud where he met with proponents of the East Rosebud Wild and Scenic Act. Prior to the business side of the visit, Sen. Walsh had time for some fun when he fished the river with John Miller, President of the local Home Owners Association, and caught and released a Rocky Mountain Whitefish.

Afterwards he met with the people of Rosebud and the Friends of East Rosebud. S

en. Walsh and his Deputy Chief of Staff, Andrea Helling explained the next steps for the East Rosebud Wild and Scenic Bill that he had introduced into the Senate.

“We introduced legislation about two weeks ago before we came on break. We had a hearing on the bill so where we are at right now is that when we go back in September, I’ll ask and continue to push the community for a vote on the bill,” he said. “They will either mark it up or take a look at adding or make changes that need to be taken away from it and then we will hopefully get a vote out, a vote on the bill. We will move it to the senate floor. Then, what we are trying to do is a package with other bills.”

Sen. Walsh was asked what the chances are of getting the bill passed and if it would be favorable.

“I think favorable, ‘yes.’ I don’t think we will get it done by the election because there is so much political bickering and no one wants to give anybody a win by the election. But I think maybe during the section from November until Christmas I think we will have a pretty good chance of moving stuff that way,” he said.

A bill has a two-year window.

Sen. Walsh added, “That’s why if we put a package together we can get someone in the House to support that package and move it to the House. (Hopefully) we can pass it in the Senate and in the House.”

Sen. Walsh also pointed out the beauty in East Rosebud.

“I will make it a priority when I am back in Washington,” he said.

“This is a beautiful area and that’s the thing about Montana. We have such a beautiful state we want to protect it not only for this generation but future generations. Sometimes it’s hard to get people to understand why we want to lock it up,” he said.

Sen. Walsh had introduced Senate Bill 2392, the “East Rosebud Wild & Scenic Act” in June. Senator Jon Tester signed on as a co-sponsor to the bill that would save the free flowing waters of the East Rosebud for all time.

The bill just had its first and successful hearing in the US Senate a week ago at which the Department of the Interior testified in favor of the bill. It would not affect any private land rights and would continue to allow all current recreational and agricultural uses.