Sunday, June 25, 2017

Eco-group billboard blitz to greet Interior chief in Montana

Environmental groups plan to crash the homecoming in Montana next week of President Donald Trump’s Interior Department secretary with billboards, television ads and speeches to pressure him on issues from national monuments to sage grouse. Ryan Zinke is scheduled to address the Western Governors Association’s annual conference Tuesday in the town of Whitefish, which he represented as a state lawmaker from 2009 to 2011. He will be welcomed by billboards urging him not to touch the Upper Missouri River Breaks, one of two dozen national monuments he’s reviewing to eliminate or scale back protections. Television ads will air during the conference telling him to leave alone a conservation plan by the Obama administration and 11 Western states to protect the sage grouse, an imperiled bird. Advocates will give speeches in a downtown Whitefish park the day before Zinke’s address, calling on the interior chief to better protect public lands. Supporters of the Trump administration’s plans to review and possibly loosen existing land and wildlife protections are dismayed by the heavy investment that environmentalists are making to confront Zinke on his home turf. Ron Poertner, one of about 120 ranchers, farmers and landowners who live in or use the Upper Missouri River Breaks and favor reducing the size of the 590-square-mile national monument, said they can’t compete with that level of organization and money. “We’re haying, we’re still spraying weeds, we’re still doing farm work,” Poertner said. “To say, ‘Let’s take a bus and do some counter-protesting,’ there’s no way.”...more

No comments: