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Want to Really Hurt Montana’s Economy? Don’t Deal with Warming

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While Senator Daines, Representative Zinke, and the most indecisive gubernatorial candidate of all time have been trumpeting the questionable results of a Northwestern Energy-funded study that predicted dire outcomes for the state if the most drastic implementation of the Clean Power Plan were followed in Montana, they’ve been awfully quiet about another study that shows Montana’s economy will suffer if we don’t do something about global warming.

According to research by Thomas Power, failure to rein in global warming will conservatively cost the state over a billion dollars and as many as 36,000 jobs:

As many as 36,000 jobs and slightly over a billion dollars in labor earning could be lost in the next 35 years if greenhouse gas emissions don’t decline, according to the study commissioned by Montana Wildlife Federation. The study looked at the potential impact of a 5 degree Fahrenheit increase on a wide array of recreational activities, from sports fishing and hunting to skiing and state parks, but found the greatest potential for job loss in cattle raising and agriculture.

Senator Dick Barret, a former professor of economics, rightly called out the Republican fear mongering on the BBER research, noting that:

nothing in the BBER paper suggests that implementing the Clean Power Plan is going to devastate Montana’s economy. It will keep on growing, keep on providing families with incomes and economic opportunity, keep on providing workers with jobs. And all that will happen at just about the same pace as it would have if the Clean Power Plan had never darkened our doorstep.

It’s possible, as Daines, Zinke, and Gianforte seem to believe, that climate change is the most massive hoax in the history of the planet, with the vast majority of climate scientists, governments, and researchers coming together to invent a crisis for some unknown nefarious purpose. It seems just a bit more likely, though, that the reason nations came together in Paris and that scientists have increasingly loudly sounding the alarm about climate change is because we must make changes in the ways we produce energy and consume.

Running around misrepresenting economic data paid for by energy companies to scare people into voting for them may be an effective political strategy for these gentlemen, but it’s a morally bankrupt approach that threatens the Montana’s environment and economy moving forward. Just ask Ryan Zinke in 2010.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we\'d certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-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.

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  • Meanwhile, in other Montana environmental news related to global warming and resource extraction….

    Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and the Montana Wilderness Association have filed ‘friend of the court’ briefs in support of nearly 14 square miles of logging on the Kootenai National Forest.

    Of the public lands logging about 5 square miles is via clear cutting, including the clear cutting of 2 square miles of mature boreal forests, which currently is critical habitat for lynx (which is listed under the Endangered Species Act).

    Ironically the Montana Wilderness Association is being represented in their ‘friend of the court’ brief by the American Forest Resource Council.

    The America Forest Resource Council, based in Oregon, is a timber industry group that actually sued to stop implementation of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

    In fact, the American Forest Resource Council is not only representing the Montana Wilderness Association, but according to a recent article in the Kalispell paper, the timber industry lawyers are footing the bill for the entire thing.

    In total, just this one public lands timber sale would result in enough trees cut down (much of via clearcuts and much of it within critical wildlife habitat) to fill 7,800 logging trucks.

    How does this tie into climate change exactly?

    Well, according to our friends at the Center for Sustainable Economy industrial forest practices are a major source of global warming pollution. Their new report, “Clearcutting our Carbon Accounts” can be view here:

    http://sustainable-economy.org/category/climate-policy/

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