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Gianforte Triumphs Again Showing Science Has No Place In Modern World

After Montana governor signs bill prohibiting climate change science from factoring in major state decisions, cartoonist John Potter hits back—with satire

Cover your ears, close your eyes, appeal to people who are told to believe Noah built the ark a couple of thousand years ago, proclaim the sanctity of life but be a trophy hunter who shoots a Yellowstone wolf caught in a trap outside the park and a Yellowstone mountain lion treed by dogs and having no fair way to flee. Identify as a high-tech guru but ignore science if it makes fact-based policymaking inconvenient. Sign bills that represent a radical shift from your party's moderate base and which caused a former holder of your same high office, respected in his day as an ardent conservative, to flee it.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has and does say controversial things, particularly at the intersection of his faith as an evangelical Christian, success in amassing a fortune through information technology and, ironically, policy positions that either clash with science or ignore science that does not confirm his world views.

The above is fodder for a great cartoonist. John Potter, once nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, returns with a satirical look at Gianforte's recent signing of House Bill 971 into law that prevents regulators in the state from considering the science of climate change in making significant natural resource decisions such as whether to permit coal mining. Apparently, Gov. Gianforte either has not seen or is unable to distill the findings of the Montana Climate Assessment, held up by business leaders, ecologists, conservationists and public health officials as a model for other states. It examines the known and projected impacts of rising temperatures on water, agriculture, forests, wildlife, human health (as in lung ailments from wildfire woodsmoke) and the multibillion-dollar nature-based tourism industry that depends on a healthy environment

The motivation for the report, embraced by people on both sides of the political aisle, is to provide Montana citizens with the best available, fact-based information as part of their legal right "to a clean and healthful environment" as stated in the Montana Constitution.

A copy of the multi-part climate assessment and ongoing scientific investigation was made available to all members of the Montana Legislature including those who drafted House Bill 971. Readers can peruse the findings themselves in this powerpoint presentation by Dr. Cathy Whitlock, a national Montana-based climate scientist and expert and member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, considered the premier research body in the world.

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