In Which I Finally Agree with Ryan Zinke

No longer satisfied with comparing wilderness organizations he doesn’t approve of with Nazi collaborators, Mike Garrity, the executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, has elevated his analogy game. From Montana Public Radio today:

Michael Garrity of the Helena-based environmental group, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, doesn’t trust any of them to lead that charge.

“During the civil rights era we didn’t let the Mississippi congressional delegation try to solve civil rights problems. I don’t think our country is going to let the Montana congressional delegation try to solve environmental problems on our national forests,” says Garrity.

Republican Ryan Zinke says Garrity’s comment is out of line.

“Trying to relate the civil liberties of Mississippi to our forests in Montana? That’s inappropriate and that’s exactly the problem.”

Do I agree with Congressman Zinke’s proposed bill that will limit environmental analysis and broadly constrain lawsuits against timber sales? No. Do I think we need a serious look at the current system of managing Montana’s forests? Yes. We certainly need better policy—and better work from the Forest Service.

But Mr. Garrity helps make that impossible every time he loses his ever-loving mind and makes comparisons that simultaneously insult the members of Congress he should try to persuade while trivializing the plight of those who were denied basic rights in the Jim Crow South. There’s nothing wrong with being a passionate advocate for your beliefs, but I wonder what motivates Mr. Garrity to replace passion with such pointless vitriol.

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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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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  • Why don’t you try to persuade the Montana Delegation to stop clearcutting lynx habitat to the point of extinction? Good luck with that.
    Have you ever lifted a finger to protect wildlife habitat for any species?
    In 2003 lynx lived in the Garnet Range, today there are no lynx. All starved the winter after massive logging/thinning.
    Jim Crow policies and policies that wantonly exterminate other species hardly trivialize the former. Garrity makes a pretty fair analogy, I believe. You got a better one for government-sponsored, systematic extirpation of a federally-listed threatened species? I’m all ears.

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