I love Montana and its constitution. I love that the delegates who wrote it in 1972 had the wisdom to recognize the importance of protecting our environment and ensuring quality education for all. Montana has a constitution to be proud of, for the most part, and we should be very wary about efforts to change it for special interests.
Representative Dan Kennedy from Laurel isn’t satisfied with the simple, clean language embodied in Article II, Section 3. He wants to amend the constitution to ensure an “economically productive” environment for Montana citizens:
Let’s put aside for a moment that Kennedy’s vague language does nothing to define what "an “economically productive” environment would mean. Personally, I can only assume that he means a living wage for all workers, access to education from cradle to degree, and a social services safety net that ensures all Montanans will grow up in an environment that gives them an opportunity to succeed economically as adults. Somehow, I suspect that what Mr. Kennedy means is something closer to little regulation on business, insufficient taxation, and a nuclear power plant on Mount Helena. It’s a meaningless phrase, one that Kennedy no doubt hopes will be used to weaken environmental protection in Montana.
That agenda becomes very clear when one reads the language that Kennedy intends to include on the ballot in 2012. It reads:
 FOR recognizing that a person’s inalienable right to a clean and healthful environment includes the right to an economically productive environment.
 AGAINST recognizing that a person’s inalienable right to a clean and healthful environment includes the right to an economically productive environment.
That language does not even suggest that a “clean and healthful” environment is equal to an “economically productive” one. Kennedy is proposing a decreased commitment to the clean air and water Montanans cherish, less protections for the mountains we hike and streams we fish, subordinating those values to whatever laissez-faire definition of economic productivity some company hopes to impose.
Let’s protect our environment for future generations and preserve our constitution from these ill-advised modifications that are not only unnecessary, but counter-productive.