Tester Questions Air Tanker Choice - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Tester Questions Air Tanker Choice

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WASHINGTON, DC -

Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) attacked a decision by the Forest Service on its choice of air tankers to fight wildfires.

The senator says better options were on the table when the Forest Service decided to go with 7, Next-Gen air tankers.

Tester says those planes might not be ready until late July, at the earliest. He believes the delay could put Montana communities at risk.

"I've seen what's happened in Montana's forests for a long time now. I live in eastern Montana, two, three hundred miles from where the forest is and we're covered in smoke most summers. But if we're going to fight these fires, and if you want to use NextGEN as being the plane that's really going to get the job done much more efficiently and cost effectively, I honest to goodness can't figure out why the award was made the way it was," says Tester.

Tester points out last year's fire season set records in Montana and across the West.

One Montana company already appealed the contracts with the Forest Service which could also add delays.