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Congressman Zinke Votes Against Clean Water and Informed Consumers

Another great week for the industries that have bought Congressman Ryan Zinke, as he voted to poison our water and, potentially, our bodies, in two separate measures this week.

Fresh off efforts to make sure that coal companies don’t even pay their fair share of taxes, Congressman Zinke voted this week to gut efforts to regulate coal ash, which, according to the MEIC, “has resulted in contamination of drinking water, toxic dust, and caused catastrophic failure of coal ash impoundments across the United States.”

For Zinke, it seems any effort to reasonably regulate the pollution generated by campaign contributors is tantamount to a “WAR ON COAL, not an effort to impose reasonable restrictions that protect drinking water and habitat. Zinke’s transformation in less than a decade from someone who claimed to believe that climate change was a critical threat to our national security to a gung-ho, burn-it-all advocate for coal isn’t hard to understand, once you follow the money trail.

Zinke followed up that vote with a vote to outlaw labeling food that has been genetically modified as such and followed up his vote with a press release deserving of  the 2015 award for the Most Orwellian Doublespeak from a Montana Politician. His press release reads:

“Montanans have a right to know what is in the food they are eating and preparing for their families, which is exactly why I voted for the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.”

In order to make sure that Montanans “ know what is in the food they are eating,” Representative Zinke voted for a bill that will outlaw telling them what is in the food they are eating. Even for the most inveterate liar in Montana politics today, that’s an astonishingly brazen claim.

While I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on the science, I think one could make the case that some of the fear about GMOs is definitely overstated, but passing a bill that prohibits informing people about the nature of the food they consume only makes me, and I assume others, more concerned about GMOs.

As the IR story notes, a strong majority of Americans want GMO labelling. Why don’t the ag conglomerates and Congress?

Perhaps the most egregious problem with Zinke’s vote is that it violates one of few remaining beliefs he’s been relatively consistent on: the idea that states are better positioned to make decisions for their people than the federal government. The bill Zinke voted for prohibits states from setting their own labelling guidelines. It seems Mr. Zinke would rather substitute the logic of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. for the reasoning of people back home. Flip and flop.

As a final note, I’m certainly not a farmer, but someone might want to tell the agriculture industry that it probably isn’t the best PR to keep fighting to hide the details of what goes in our food from us. After the passage of “ag gag” laws that protect animal cruelty and mandating that regulators can’t inform consumers, a person might reasonably concluded that ag producers have something to hide, and that can’t encourage people to want to purchase their products.

In this case, two votes mark the measure of the man. Given the chance to protect consumer information and public health or corporate well-being, Congressman Zinke chose the latter.

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.

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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  • There’s been momentum aplenty in Vermont also California,
    to resist GMO’s and go on and work out State Legislation,
    banning some GMO’s, restricting some GMO’s.

    But there’s also been the GMO-Congressional Government operation to
    flat out PRE EMPT the States from restricting/regulating GMO commerce.

    Any readers that might know and share how long Freshman Zinke has been committed to now insert Legislation language favoring Monsanto?

    How long he committed to his recent Rider language insert extending Coal Tax favors to Peabody Coal?

  • Think genetically engineered food should be so labeled?

    Think a State has the right also responsibility to require labels
    of foodstuffs engineered by global corporate policies and people seeking max short term financial pay offs? Say Shanghai suppliers of phosphate and chemicals? Say one of the Chinese oligopoly suppliers of glyphosate?

    Think your State should evaluate hard evidence and stand with the voters
    of Vermont, and Connecticut, and California and Washington State,
    and work to require labels on Genetically Engineered (GE) foodstuffs?

    When thinking about stuff like the above, do consider that Monsanto, and the two Koch brothers and the Freshman Representative from Montana agree that there is no Public benefit from GE labeling,
    therefore, GE labeling SHALL BE VOLUNTARY.

    Think some more about Koch and Monsanto and Rep Zinke, and their attempt at TAKING away not only public information, but also TAKING away the language of the People, and Title proposed new Law, as SAFE. Like glyphosate is SAFE, by majority vote of the U.S. House of Representatives. Like GE corn is SAFE.

    Doesn’t that make you oh so proud when our Representative
    advances Legislation favoring the new world order,
    that the function of USA New Federalism,
    is to protect global corporations,
    and subsidize fossil fuel oligopolies
    and offer up F0COL

    Flipping 0 Corporate Origen Labeling


    Flipping 0 Corporation Origen Labeling!

    And what kind of food labels
    might be realistic now and looking forward?

    How about:
    “This food product Genetically Engineered by a Corporation in Austria.”
    “This red bull energy drink GE in Austria”

    “The grains in these cookies or crackers GE in Germany”
    Or China. Or USA. Or India. Or Iran. Or Russia.

    Seems like in a F0COL + TPP designed global market
    that Montana Made Ag products would sell at premium prices
    to a very broad markets.

    Maybe some people worked and Voted against COOL,
    Country of Origen Labeling
    because they had already agreed to support
    flipping zero Corporation of origen labels
    of Genetically Engineered seeds,
    milk, oils, fish and animal life forms.

    Of course, Koch backed Walker may walk away
    from or after being trumped by Trump,
    so maybe ask the Donald
    how about cool Made in Montana labels
    for foods he likes to eat!

  • This shit really, really, REALLY pisses me off! SOME of us were here LONG beeefore these outta state assholes took notice of this shit! So, just WHY does cowturd and ab Norma NOT allow me to respond to posts such as this? Come ON, cowturd! Don’t you even realize what you’re doing???? Let me respond on your site, you cowardly little outta stater! It’s time! Hang your cowardly heads in shame while we all hang together! Better to die with ab Noram as your conscience than do the f*cking RIGHT thing!

      • Why? The cowturd pussied out! Too bad so sad. Guess that her outta state weenie genes kicked in! Can one get disability for that? I hope so, for her sake! ’bout hundred percent weenie disability I’d say! Jeezus, cowgirl, just let it lay! You’re weren’t up to it. It’s OK. Now, stop doing a disservice to OUR state, not yours. Take your Kockh payoff and leave! We no longer need another Kockhy site!

  • Well Hell Larry… I know it just pains you to death that you can’t comment on Cowgirl’s site anymore….. but you did it to yourself Little Brother. You can’t control yourself. I am Glad Dons letting you speak here but, Honestly he has to be getting a little tired of you attacking commenters and not their Ideas as well.

    I still love ya, you can be the best written snark in the Business of Blogging. but you all over the map little brother….

    Contact me anytime you have my Email, Ill build you a site Larry. for free!!!!!

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