The Bozeman Daily Chronicle is reporting that 10 attorneys general are condemning the proposal to more than double the cost of visiting many of the most popular national parks. Notably absent from the list is Montana’s AG, Tim Fox, despite the vital role national parks play in Montana’s economy and heritage.
The group of attorneys general lay out three arguments against the proposal:
- the government did not provide an economic analysis justifying the fee hike, which could actually reduce visits and revenue.
- Trump and Zinke are being disingenuous when they call for the increased fees to pay for a maintenance backlog, given budget proposals to cut funds to the National Park Service.
- The proposal will reduce access to people with lower incomes.
Perhaps Mr. Fox is using another of his secret legal strategies, this time to protect the parks, but the more likely answer is that he’s unwilling to sign on to any statement critical of the President and Secretary Zinke, no matter how misguided they are. Given an opportunity to stand up for Montanans, Fox has remained silent.
It’s not as if Mr. Fox is reticent about becoming involved in national disputes. During his tenure as the Attorney General, his office has found the time to submit a brief arguing for the President’s xenophobic travel ban, a brief on a California gun case, a case about local ordinances on church signs, and a horrifically dishonest and bigoted brief arguing against marriage equality.
Surely he has time to sign a letter defending access to our national parks and better represent the people of our state.