Montana Politics

Montana Politics Winners and Losers of the Week

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WINNER: MONTANA WOMEN

An excellent turnout on a cold and rainy Saturday for a rally at the Capitol shows that Montana’s women won’t stand by quietly while misogynistic political “leaders” strip their rights.

LOSER: KEN MILLER

It’s hard not to get labeled a loser during a week in which your former campaign finance chair tells the press that you’ve been illegally accepting and fraudulently reporting campaign donations. Miller didn’t have much chance of winning this race before the news broke, but this scandal (and its terrible timing) make his chances even smaller.

WINNER: RURAL POSTAL CUSTOMER

While Representative Rehberg talked about protecting them, Senator Tester wrote and passed Senate amendments which will prevent closing these vital lifelines for many small Montana communities.

LOSER: DENNIS REHBERG

Erik Iverson must have been out of the office the day Representative Rehberg decided to get behind HR 1505, the incredibly overreaching federal land grab of Montana’s northern border.  Ten Montana sporting organizations have joined the call for a review of the bill, which Rehberg has steadfastly refused to discuss with Montana voters. I expect another flip-flop from the Representative some time very soon.

WINNER: MONTANA TOURISM

Is there anything more adorable in this universe than a baby mountain goat? Governor Schweitzer’s decision to promote Montana tourism in New York and nationally on the Dave Letterman Show was a slam dunk success for the state’s tourism industry.

WINNER: MONTANA VOTERS

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch unveiled a new “My Voter Page” which will make it easier for Montana voters to check their voter registration status and locate polling information.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

4 Comments

  • The My Voter Page was a long time coming. I wonder though if Rehberg will flip-flop on this one. He seems oblivious to public opinion. At the listening session he recently had on the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act the support was overwhelming. 2 to 1 in fact. In all of his reviews of the session that I’ve read, I only see him talking about the “concerns” of locals and industry. Probably because the vast majority of his supporters are dogmatically supportive of him, regardless of what criticisms the masses or different organizations direct at him and his policies.

  • RE: Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act

    Below are some concerns regarding the RMFHA…likely not at all the same concerns that Rehberg and his supporters have, but legit, substantive concerns nonetheless….

    • The 67, 000 acres of Wilderness designations along the Rocky Mountain Front proposed by Senator Baucus is a paltry sum, given the world-class, and largely unprotected wildlands and wildlife habitat, currently found along the Rocky Mountain Front. Even the Forest Service has recommended more Wilderness protections in their forest plans for the area than what Senator Baucus is proposing. Unfortunately, last fall supporters of Baucus’ bill dropped almost 30,000 acres of proposed Wilderness from this bill at the request of snowmobilers and those who oppose Wilderness. I strongly urge Senator Baucus and the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee to include Wilderness protections for all the inventoried roadless wildlands along the Rocky Mountain Front.

    • The Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act preserves existing motorized, grazing and logging uses on 208,160 acres of federal land, designated as the “Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Management Area.” A serious question that should be posed to Senator Baucus is: How does preserving existing motorized use, grazing and logging on 208,160 acres along the Rocky Mountain Front actually result in eliminating the threats posed by motorized use, grazing and logging in these areas?

    • Re: Grazing – This bill locks-in public lands grazing across the Front by stating that “The secretary shall permit grazing” where it currently exists. Under existing law, grazing may be allowed to continue, but it is not mandated that it must be allowed to continue. The current language of the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act ties the hands of the Forest Service and it is worse than a bail-out, as it mandates the federal government to keep a private, commercial enterprise operating on public land, regardless of the ecological consequences, both now and into perpetuity. This public lands grazing mandate MUST be removed from the RMFHA.

    • This bill has special provisions for Wilderness management that should raise red flags to those who support Wilderness. This bill currently contains language for overflights, as it relates to commercial and general aviation, that is unprecedented in the history of the Wilderness Act and needs to go. The military overflights language, while bad, is pretty standard fare nowadays. But this language seems to preclude efforts to control or limit flightseeing or other overflights, which are incredibly disruptive to visitors, wildlife and Wilderness. Please REMOVE this language from the RMFHA.

    • The language for maintaining existing facilities for livestock grazing is more liberal than previous Wilderness bills. The language incorporating State or local agencies for controlling fire, insects and disease promotes the trend toward devolution of federal public lands and is objectionable on that basis. Please REMOVE this language from the RMFHA.

    • Much of the noxious weed stuff in the bill is all about taxpayer funding for dropping tons of poisons on the ground (while also mandating that all existing livestock grazing continue forever). If this were an effective strategy there wouldn’t be weeds in Montana. Given the complexities and unknowns of controlling weeds, especially with a rapidly changing climate and an escalating number of encroaching weed species, the called-for management strategy needs to focus on an assessment of existing weed infestations, the causes, potential controls, costs, likelihood of success, and clearly stated, measurable objectives to determine whether the controls are effective, and what will be done if they aren’t or if the funding doesn’t come through. At a minimum, this section of the bill should call for the plan to be written by an independent team of scientists.

    Many substantive concerns regarding the Rocky Mountain Heritage Act have been expressed by a number of organizations and many experienced, dedicated wilderness and forest protection activists. Many Montana wilderness supporters remain disappointed that the Act would only designate a small fraction of Wilderness-deserving lands on the Rocky Mountain Front as Wilderness, while leaving too much of the Front open to logging and other forms of development.

    We’ve tried to get the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front to listen to our concerns, make adjustments to the bill and add more protections to the unparalleled wildlife habitat and wildlands on the Rocky Mountain Front, but, unfortunately, they seem more concerned with politics and the appeasing the opinions of the anti-wilderness crowd.

    • Keep on truckin’, Matt. Remember that the politicians run on fear, and ground level organizing (and a few well-placed lawsuits) seems to work. Thanks for your continuing tireless efforts.

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