I'm raising my kids in Montana specifically because of the opportunities our public lands provide for them to be outside. It saddens me to hear about the lack of conservation in the Lewistown Resource Management Plan.

This plan would make nearly all of the BLM land in central Montana open to future oil and gas leasing. The federal oil and gas leasing program hasn’t been updated in nearly 100 years.

These companies can speculate on our lands for dirt cheap because the federal government allows companies to obtain leases without competitively bidding for them, and only pay $1.50 per acre to sit on our public lands. Allowing companies to obtain noncompetitive leases over thousands of acres for pennies on the dollar is tantamount to transferring our public land into their private hands.

The Lewistown RMP is a prime example of why we need to change how oil and gas are leased on public lands. It’s high time public land be managed for all the multiple uses it provides - including open spaces, clean water, and abundant wildlife for my kids to enjoy and cherish - and for private industry to pay its fair share when they lease our public resources.