Two MT Candidates Selected for Conservation Voters' So-called "Dirty Dozen"
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Correction: Neither Fiedler nor Gianforte staff responded to a request for comment. This was not stated in an earlier version of the story. (1:05pm, 10/21/2020)
HELENA, Mont. -- Two candidates in Montana have received an unflattering distinction: They've been chosen for the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund's 2020 "Dirty Dozen in the States" list.
State Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, and U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., were selected based on what the group says are their anti-conservation stances. Jake Brown is political director at Montana Conservation Voters.
"It's supposed to represent the worst of the worst -- the most anti-environment elected officials or candidates running for office across the country," Brown said of the list.
Brown said Gianforte landed on the list for his support of a bill in Congress to remove wilderness protections for 700,000 acres of land -- what would have been the largest rollback in state history. Gianforte has said the bill backs the U.S. Forest Service's multiple-use mandate and prevents more road closures in the area.
Gianforte is running for governor against current Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney.
Jennifer Fielder, has a 16-percent lifetime score from the Montana Conservation Voters for her votes in the state Legislature. Brown noted Fielder also heads the American Lands Council, which advocates against federal ownership of public lands.
"Basically the idea is to take all of our federally owned public lands, transfer them to management by the state," according to Brown. "This is kind of the first step in opening up our millions of acres of public lands to be sold to the highest bidder."
Fielder refutes the charge, she says the purpose of land transfer is not to sell it off; rather, she believes the federal government has mismanaged public lands. Fielder is running for Public Service Commission in District 4.
Despite the fact that both of these candidates are Republicans, Brown said conservation is not a partisan issue in Montana.
"We can come up with conservation solutions that require input from Democrats, Republicans, from all different stakeholders, and get us to where we need to be -- which is protecting our natural resources," he said.
Correction: Neither Fielder nor Gianforte staff responded to multiple requests for comment. This was not stated in an earlier version of this article. (1:05 p.m., 10/21/2020)
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