Montana Politics The Media

Dennis Rehberg Supports the Cancer Lobby

One of the early themes of the 2012 Senate race between Representative Rehberg and Senator Tester was the level of support each has shown in his career when it comes to cancer prevention and treatment. While Rehberg seemed only able to muster a family member (and not any votes) to demonstrate his commitment to fighting the disease, he’s unquestionably the leader of the Montana delegation when it comes to promoting carcinogens.

Nick Kristof, in the New York Times, makes it clear that Rehberg put corporate lobbyists ahead of public health, accurate science, and even the democratic process:

The American Chemistry Council first got its pals in Congress to order a $1 million follow-up study on formaldehyde and styrene. Then it demanded, through a provision drafted by Representative Denny Rehberg, a Montana Republican, that no money be spent on another Report on Carcinogens until the follow-up was completed — meaning a four-year delay until the next report. Stay tuned for an industry effort to slip some such provision into the next budget legislation.

Let’s be clear. There is uncertainty about toxic chemicals, and it is perfectly legitimate to criticize the Report on Carcinogens. But this effort to defund the report is an insult to science and democracy alike.

Kristof’s story isn’t new. It broke in the national news back in August, thanks to the reporting of Mother Jones.

Rehberg’s failure in the war against cancer isn’t new, either. In 2011, the American Cancer Society condemned his proposed amendment which would have immunized “the tobacco industry against many FDA regulations preventing them from making tobacco more addictive and marketing it to children.”

And we all remember Rehberg voting to cut screening for breast cancer.

Now, as I often note, I am not a reporter, but it seems that simply the fact that the New York Times, the Economist, Mother Jones, and the American Cancer Society have criticized our sole Representative for his wrong-headed moves in the fight against cancer warrants some news coverage.  Perhaps the press might need to pull someone off covering a political rally with fewer than 50 attendees to do the story, but I think the Montana electorate needs to know what Rehberg thinks about cancer more than they need to know what Chris Christie thinks of Jon Tester.

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 would certainly appreciate it.


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  • I have been saying this myself. Good article Don. A lot of this hullabaloo has to do with fracking. They do not want Americans to know the chemical compounds they are putting next to our water supplies are dangerous. Denny seems to care a lot more for chemicals companies Koch Owns, then protecting Montanans or Americans.

  • So does that mean that Senator Tester supports the Lead-poisoning Lobby?

    For Immediate Release, September 20, 2012

    Contact: Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351

    Senate Poised to Vote on Bill Outlawing Lead-poisoning Protections for Wildlife

    WASHINGTON— The U.S. Senate is poised to vote on a controversial bill that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from stepping in to protect hundreds of wildlife species that are killed or poisoned each year by lead hunting ammunition and lead fishing tackle. The provision is part of a bill, S. 2525, sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

    “It’s a national disgrace that eagles, condors, loons and other wildlife are needlessly killed every year because of toxic lead that’s left in the wild,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Senator Tester’s bill would ensure that these killings continue even though it’s been shown that these wildlife deaths can be prevented with little to no impact on America’s hunters and anglers.”

    Up to 20 million birds die each year from lead poisoning after consuming spent lead shot and bullet fragments left in the wild from hunting. In the United States, 3,000 tons of lead are shot into the environment each year, while another 80,000 tons are released at shooting ranges.

    Earlier this year, the Center and more than 100 groups from 35 states petitioned the EPA to regulate toxic lead ammunition to protect public health and prevent the widespread poisoning of wildlife. The petition was filed by groups representing conservationists, birders, hunters, zoologists, scientists, American Indians, wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians. The bill before the Senate would keep the EPA from taking action on lead ammunition and fishing tackle.

    “Senator Tester’s bill is meant to appeal to sportsmen, but there’s nothing sporting about using lead ammunition that unintentionally kills so many other animals,” Snape said. “The EPA can finally put an end to this national tragedy, but not if Congress gets in the way.”

    Spent lead from hunting and fishing tackle is a widespread killer of bald and golden eagles, trumpeter swans, endangered California condors and more than 75 other species. Nearly 500 scientific papers have documented the dangers to wildlife from lead exposure.

    There are many commercially available alternatives to lead rifle bullets, shotgun pellets, fishing weights and lures. More than a dozen manufacturers market hundreds of varieties and calibers of nonlead bullets and shot made of steel, copper and alloys of other metals, with satisfactory to superior ballistics. Nonlead bullets and fishing tackle are readily available in all 50 states. Hunters and anglers in states and areas that have lead restrictions or have already banned lead have made successful transitions to hunting with nontoxic bullets and fishing with nontoxic tackle.

    The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 375,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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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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