We can't keep up. This week's issue of the Indy covers, in a number of different ways, the circus that is the Montana Capitol (elephants being the main attraction). The spectacle continues to startle.
On Tuesday, first-term Rep. Joe Read, R-Ronan, introduced House Bill 549, which would clarify the state's position on global warming and greenhouse gases. Here's what it says:
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.
(2) The legislature finds:
(a) global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana;
(b) reasonable amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere have no verifiable impacts on the environment; and
(c) global warming is a natural occurrence and human activity has not accelerated it.
(3) (a) For the purposes of this section, "global warming" relates to an increase in the average temperature of the earth's surface.
(b) It does not include a one-time, catastrophic release of carbon dioxide.
Unfortunately, this notion—that only by spewing more carbon dioxide can we spur the economy (and warmer weather sounds delightful)—is widely held in the halls of the Capitol. Don't be surprised if the House Natural Resources Committee, in which Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-1, endorses the bill and sends it to the House floor.
Rep. Read is also behind House Bill 550, which seeks to establish state authority over the EPA on the regulation of greenhouse gases.