In the People's Interest

Montana can’t stand still on climate change

Denise Hayman

Written by Representative Denise Hayman, HD66, and Representative Tom France, HD94 (Missoula). Published on July 18, 2021

“This summer’s torrid weather is more than just uncomfortable for those heading outside. Across the West and in Montana, it is taking a significant toll on many sectors of the economy. Farmers and ranchers, always at the frontline of weather and climate, will suffer crop failures and be forced to reduce the size of cattle herds in the absence of grass and forage. Recreation and tourism will also suffer. Already, the famed Smith River was closed to floating in mid-June, something that has never occurred before and fishing on other rivers is also being restricted. The forest fire season has already started, and hot, smoky days are ahead in July, August and September that will affect every outdoor activity and potentially visit catastrophe on some western communities…

Even as the impacts of a warming climate have been increasingly evident for the last two decades, it is discouraging, if not planet threatening that Republicans at the state and national level continue to oppose policies that will either slow climate change or shift to climate friendly sources of energy. In Congress, Sen. Daines and Congressman Rosenthal are fighting the Biden administration’s goal of investing in climate friendly infrastructure. Gov. Gianforte is a climate change skeptic who has been absent from the stage of climate policy. Remarkably, Republicans at this year’s Montana Legislature even stepped backwards, repealing a renewable energy standard that has been in place since 2005…

Montana alone certainly cannot stop climate change. But if ever there was an issue that requires many, many local steps forward, climate change is it. Let us work together to identify those steps and the resources we need to accomplish them. Our citizens today, and future generations of Montanans, deserve nothing less.”

Read the full guest column on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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