Idiots rule

Not since 2012 has any state legislature so aggressively sought to squelch modern climate science.

But the measure was met by fierce opposition from environmentalists, who accused the Republican-led Montana Legislature of “hiding its head in the sand” and argued that the majority of Montanans believe in human-caused climate change and want to take meaningful action to address it. A 2022 poll conducted by Colorado College found that nearly 60 percent of Montanans believe in climate change and want to address it, including by transitioning to renewable energy. Of the more than 1,000 comments submitted by local residents on House Bill 971, a whopping 95 percent opposed it.

“Our families are already suffering from an increase in the number of sweltering summer days, longer wildfire and smoke seasons, and historic drought,” Winona Bateman, executive director of Families for a Livable Climate, told the Montana Free Press. “I am not sure how Gov. Gianforte imagines we will do our part to address these growing impacts, or pay for them, if we’re not working to eliminate the root cause.”

Montana’s climate has changed notably over the past century, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, leading to snowpacks melting earlier in the year, more frequent heat waves and increased risk of wildfires. In fact, Montana’s own 2015 climate assessment found that the state’s annual average temperatures have increased between 2 and 3 degrees Fahrenheit from 1950 to 2015, with winter and spring temperatures rising upwards of 3.9 degrees. That report also found that between 1951 and 2010, the state’s average winter precipitation decreased by roughly an inch and the number of days exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit in any given year grew by an average of 11.

But despite those impacts, Montana Republicans have fought tirelessly to thwart policies that could threaten the bottom line of coal, oil and gas companies in the state. The Treasure State—a nickname referring to the wealth of minerals found in Montana’s mountains, including coal—has long benefited from a bustling fossil fuel industry. The Bakken formation, one of the largest onshore oil and gas fields in the United States, lies partially in eastern Montana. The state also contains the largest recoverable coal reserves in the US, with six coal mines still active and nearly half the state’s electricity coming from coal-burning power plants.

Several GOP state lawmakers also have close ties to the fossil fuel industry. Both Montana Rep. Gary Parry, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and recently retired state Sen. Duane Ankney worked for the coal industry before serving in office. US Rep. Ryan Zinke, the Montana Republican who served as Secretary of the Interior under former President Donald Trump, was also a board member of the oil pipeline company QS Energy before he helped facilitate oil and gas development on federal lands for the Trump administration.

By the title I thought it was going to be about something else. :joy:

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Same here. Thought it was a Pro- Biden campaign ad coming.