Montana’s Attorney General Republican Tim Fox wants the State of Washington to limit its environmental review of the proposed Longview coal export terminal. Fox says the review should not include global impacts of burning the coal. He fears that a broad review would limit export of Montana coal, violating the State’s rights as a coal producing State. As reported by the Missoulian State Bureau’s Mike Dennison, Fox states, “Access to overseas markets is vital to Montana’s economy.”
Fox’s position on the scope of the Longview Environmental review betrays Montanans. He is sworn to uphold our State Constitution which includes the provision that Montanans have a right to a clean and healthful environment. Implicit in Fox’s position on the Longview review is the recognition that coal burning will continue to degrade our global environment.
What happens in China does not stay in China. Montana coal burned there would further degrade the global systems that are the foundation for worldwide economic and social well being.
Congress ordered a study of climate change by our Nation’s highest scientific authority, the National Academy of Sciences. The Academy reported agreement by 97% of active climate scientists that “Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for – and in many cases is already affecting – a broad range of human and natural systems.”
As Montanans and Americans we must ask more of our politicians. Science is a disciplined process that ultimately defines truth and must be upheld. Our politicians must respond with higher standards of leadership away from fossil fuels to the sustainable energy sources that will ensure a lasting economic, social, and environmental quality of life.