In this day in age, it is not surprising when a state legislature decides to take aim at the EPA, but this week Montana has taken things to a whole new level.
State Rep. Joe Read of Montana has not only gotten support from 67 members of the state house to forbid Montana from enforcing greenhouse gas regulations in the Big Sky state, he also tried to claim that global warming is good for Montana.
A day before the anti-EPA bill passed, the Montana Republican made the bold move of proposing a bill that stated that global warming is a “beneficial natural occurrence,” and that “human activity has not accelerated it.” To be clear, throwing the EPA under the bus isn’t new territory for the climate denial crowd. What's new is Read’s claim that global warming is “beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.”
But it appears that even in Montana, lawmakers thought this bill went too far. Read’s hopes of getting a vote on the claim that global warming was a good thing failed to gain enough support for a floor vote in the state legislature, despite support for his other anti-climate bills this week.
But even in defeat, Read is sticking to his guns. Following his failed attempt, the lawmaker did grant an interview with the left-leaning ThinkProgress.org, in which he essentially said that global warming was an economic conspiracy. “If you follow the money, the science has been pushed toward where the money is coming from. The money is coming from the federal government. I believe global science is an ideal, not a true science," he said. Read also admitted during his interview that he didn’t consult any climate scientists before he drafted his bill.
While Read’s attempt may have been a rare case of climate deniers going too far in assaulting science in a red state like Montana, his actions show that going too far requires extreme actions these days. Beyond the successful vote to forbid enforcement of greenhouse gas regulations, Republicans in the Montana House of Representatives this week got many Democrats to join them Tuesday in an 80-20 vote forbidding the state from enforcing a mercury rule stricter than federal regulations for the pollutant.
So the lesson to be learned here is that there are limits for even the most extreme climate deniers, but that won’t keep them from trying.