Legislators' vision for Montana

This is it: a depleted mining wasteland:

NASA Berkeley Pit

Berkeley Pit, Butte MT, NASA Earth Observatory

The spearhead is an assault on the MT constitution’s language on the environment,

All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights. They include the right to a clean, and healthful, and economically productive environment and the rights of pursuing life’s basic necessities, enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and seeking their safety, health and happiness in all lawful ways. In enjoying these rights, all persons recognize corresponding responsibilities.

What does “economically productive” add that wasn’t already covered by “pursuing … acquiring … posessing” anyway? Ironically, this could cut both ways – would it facilitate restrictions on future resource extraction, because depleted mines become economically unproductive?

Other bills attempt to legalize gravel pits in residential areas, sell coal at discount prices, and dismantle or cripple any other environmental protection you could think of.

The real kicker is Joe Read’s HB 549, AN ACT STATING MONTANA’S POSITION ON GLOBAL WARMING:

Section 1.¬†¬†Public policy concerning global warming. (1) The legislature finds that to ensure economic development in Montana and the appropriate management of Montana’s natural resources it is necessary to adopt a public policy regarding global warming.

At least we’re clear up front that the coal industry is in charge!

(2) The legislature finds:

I’m sure you can guess how many qualified climate scientists are in the Montana legislature.

(a) global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana;

I guess Joe didn’t get the memo, that skiing and fishing could be hard hit. Maybe he thinks crops and trees do just fine with too little water and warmth, or too much.

(b) reasonable amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere have no verifiable impacts on the environment; and

Yeah, and pi is 3.2, just like it was in Indiana in 1897. I guess you could argue about the meaning of “reasonable,” but apparently Joe even rejects chemistry (ocean acidification) and biology (CO2 fertilization) along with atmospheric science.

(c) global warming is a natural occurrence and human activity has not accelerated it.

Ahh, now we’re doing detection & attribution. Legislating the answers to scientific questions is a fool’s errand. How did this text go through peer review?

(3) (a) For the purposes of this section, “global warming” relates to an increase in the average temperature of the earth’s surface.

Well, at least one sentence in this bill makes sense – at least if you assume that “average” is over time as well as space.

(b) It does not include a one-time, catastrophic release of carbon dioxide.

Where did that strawdog come from? Apparently there’s a catastrophic release of CO2 every time Joe Read opens his mouth.

3 thoughts on “Legislators' vision for Montana”

  1. I weep for Montana this year and wonder how many years it’s going to take to undo the damage, kinda like mitigating the effects of the Dubya years.

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