Republican primary voters in Montana last week chose State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R) to challenge U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D) this November, setting up a contest between two candidates whose environmental records could not be more different. Tester, a third-generation farmer, is a pragmatic champion for public lands, clean rivers and climate action. Rosendale, by contrast, maintains a dismal voting record on environmental issues.
As a state legislator, Rosendale regularly voted to thwart environmental protections needed to conserve and protect Montana’s natural resources. In 2014, he led a proposal to turn federal lands over to the state to sell off to extractive industries. Rosendale has also voted to weaken the state constitution’s “clean and healthful environment” clause, block public access to some major waterways, and give industrial developers an advantage over public agencies in disputes over their environmental impacts. Rosendale’s attacks on the environment during his time in the legislature were so egregious that he earned scores of 0%, 6%, and 13% on the Montana Conservation Voters’ Scorecard.
Senator Tester’s record indicates a more responsible approach to environmental stewardship and conservation. As a native Montanan and the only working farmer in the US Senate, Tester understands the threats facing the state’s natural resources, and he knows first-hand the lasting impacts we can have on our environment. That’s why he’s taken bold steps to combat the encroachment of Montana’s public lands by introducing the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act and the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. He also spearheaded the passage of the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act and the North Fork Protection Act, which bolstered protection of these lands by prohibiting future mining and drilling developments in over 430,000 acres. The bills also added an additional 275,000 acres as a conservation management area which are also protected from certain developments. His pro-environment and pro-public lands votes have earned the two-term senator an impressive 86% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters.
Rosendale’s record makes clear he’d be a rubber-stamp for the Trump administration’s anti-environment and anti-public lands agenda on Capitol Hill. Voters who care about a clean environment and unspoiled public lands should ensure Sen. Tester remains in the Senate to continue fighting for Montana families and Montana values.