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JON TESTER, secs United States Senate September 15, 2015 ‘The Honorable Tom Tidwell Chier United States Forest Service 1400 Independence Ave S.W. Washington, DC 20250 Dear Chief Tidwell: Tam writing to request that you work with the forest products industry in Montana to evaluate appropriate steps that ensure our sawmills have adequate flexibility to honor their existing contracts. It has come to my attention that a confluence of events, both domestically and globally, have put our sawmills in a difficult position, Thave recently heard from sawmills in my state that a number of issues, including next ‘month’s expiration of the Softwood Lumber Agreement, changes in market demand in Asia, and unfavorable exchange rates, are currently hurting the competitiveness of U.S. lumber manufacturers, especially those in northem border states. We have already seen the negative impacts of these issues, with a local mill announcing the need to lay off 50 employees. Sound forest management depends upon maintaining a viable timber industry and related infrastructure in Montana. In order for commercial timber harvest to remain a cost-effective tool for the Forest Service to achieve management objectives, we simply must have operating mills. A sustainable timber industry is also closely tied to the economies of a number of Montana's rural communities and the livelihoods of many Montana families. Accordingly, I urge you to work with folks on the ground to determine what steps the Forest Service can take to provide flexibility during the current downturn. appreciate your attention to this time-sensitive issue and stand ready to assist you in finding responsible solutions that can be implemented quickly. If I can provide any additional formation, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff. Sincerely, Jon Tester Bossy eure Guevone crear Fas Hees Kaus 406) 586-4250 (aoe 723-3277 (406) 265-2301 (406) 452-9565 (406) 440-6401 (408) 257-3300 Buunes 06) 25

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