Candidate for Montana attorney general lays out public lands plan

NBC Montana

August 4, 2020

Democratic candidate for Montana Attorney General Raph Graybill unveiled a plan for public lands should he win the seat in November. His campaign says the plan will protect Montana’s public lands from attack by the federal government and out-of-state special interests.

Part of the plan includes creating a new position in the AG’s office called the public access advocate. His campaign says that person will serve as an assistant attorney general who will work with local officials and other stakeholders to make sure they have what they need to keep public access open and stop illegal closure of roads and trails.

“The threats to our public lands from out-of-state special interests are exactly why we need to elect an independent watchdog as attorney general.” Graybill said. “I got into this race to stop extremist politicians from attacking our heritage, and I’ll work with anyone, Republicans or Democrats, to fight for the places that belong to all of us.”

The plan also includes a section on stream access laws, holding industrial-scale polluters accountable and taking on the threat of climate change, to name a few. You can read the full plan here.

We reached out to Graybill’s Republican challenger Austin Knudsen for comment. A campaign spokesperson said, “Austin has a strong record of supporting multiple-use access legislation during his time in the Montana House of Representatives, and as a member of the land board he will continue ensuring that all Montanans have access to our state’s public lands for all types of outdoor recreation. It’s also the duty of the land board to maximize the revenue Montana receives from state-owned lands, whether that’s farm and ranch leasing or oil and gas development -- every dollar goes towards K-12 education in the state.”