HELENA, Mont.— Sen. Ken Bogner, R-Miles City, is proposing legislation to prohibit foreign adversaries from owning, leasing, or renting critical infrastructure in Montana, including agricultural production land.
Senate Bill 203 will have its first hearing this afternoon in the Senate Agriculture Committee. Bogner is the President Pro Tempore of the Montana State Senate.
“China especially has shown a concerning interest in acquiring lands and resources in our country that could help them with spying efforts, economic competition, and gaining the upper hand in any conflict with the United States,” said Bogner, a Marine Corps veteran. “Foreign adversaries and corporations acting at their behest have no business owning or leasing any part of Montana that is important to our national security.”
Critical infrastructure is defined in Montana law as “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of the systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.”
“I’ve included agricultural production land in my bill both because food security is essential to national security and because of the importance of agriculture to Montana’s economy,” Bogner said. “In the Treasure State, agricultural land is critical infrastructure.”
Recent news reports have identified increasing concern at the federal level about China and Chinese Communist Party affiliated corporations buying up agricultural land in the United States, including near strategic military facilities in North Dakota and Montana.
While introduced specifically with China in mind, the provisions of SB 203 also include Russia, North Korea, and Iran as foreign adversaries identified by the federal government that would be banned from critical infrastructure and agricultural land in Montana.
“Our adversaries are becoming more sophisticated in how they compete with and threaten the United States economically, culturally, and militarily,” Bogner said. “While national security is primarily the responsibility of the federal government, keeping our adversaries from buying up critical parts of Montana is something we can achieve at the state legislature with Senate Bill 203.”
Montana Senate Republicans