Missoula, Montana – The League of Conservation Voters today launched a $244,000 ad campaign urging Congressman Greg Gianforte (MT-AL) to stop his assault on public lands in Montana and across the country. Gianforte is supporting a radical bill expected to come to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives that would dramatically limit what land can be protected under the Antiquities Act and empower presidents to shrink or even abolish existing national monuments.
The campaign includes one of the first-ever advocacy pushes using ads on the mapping app Waze. Montanans who are traveling near public lands like Glacier National Park or the Crazy Mountains will see geo-targeted content about how Gianforte’s votes threaten our majestic public lands – and will have the option to learn more when they’re no longer behind the wheel. The ads will also run on Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, local news websites and video streaming services through April.
“Greg Gianforte is assaulting our public lands by pushing a radical anti-parks agenda that has no place in Montana or anywhere else,” said League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski. “If this radical attack on the Antiquities Act becomes law, our access to public lands and national monuments could disappear forever. Members of Congress who support this extreme attempt to undermine public lands should be ready to face the backlash.”
The campaign launches as Gianforte faces protests for introducing two additional bills that amount to the largest attack on public lands Montana has ever confronted – removing protection for nearly 690,000 acres that provide clean drinking water, sustainable habitat for fish and wildlife, and support the state’s $7 billion recreation economy.
“Montana’s public lands are central to our way of life, and Congressman Gianforte’s assaults are shameful,” said Montana Conservation Voters Executive Director Clayton Elliott. “On top of voting for legislation that threatens public lands protections nationwide, Gianforte has written two bills of his own that amount to the largest attack on Montana lands we’ve ever seen.”
Despite his short tenure in Congress, Gianforte has already pushed several proposals to sell out public lands and threaten protections for national monuments. As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Gianforte voted for H.R. 3990 which arbitrarily limits the scope and size of land protected under the Antiquities Act while giving presidents authority to shrink or abolish existing national monuments, including those in Montana. Gianforte also refused to support a resolution demanding that the Trump administration be transparent about their unprecedented national monument review, which included Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks.
More background on Gianforte’s legislative record of assaulting our public lands can be found below.
There’s a shadow creeping across Montana.
Somebody’s attacking our way of life and assaulting our public lands and national monuments.
It’s Washington politician Greg Gianforte.
He’s attacking our national monuments and public lands. Putting D.C. politics ahead of Montana families.
If Montanans don’t take a stand now, our access to public lands and national monuments could disappear forever.
Tell Greg Gianforte: these aren’t Montana values. Stop voting to assault our public lands.
BACKGROUND ON GIANFORTE’S ASSAULT ON PUBLIC LANDS:
ACTUAL (NOT SATIRE) NEWS HEADLINE: “Greg Gianforte, Who Assaulted A Reporter, Is Now A Congressman.” [Washington Post, 6/21/2017]
Greg Gianforte Joined Party-Line Vote For H.R. 3990, A Bill To Scale Back The Antiquities Act. In covering the House Natural Resources Committee’s markup of H.R. 3990, CQ reported: “The House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday advanced along party lines a bill that would scale back presidential authority to establish national monuments, 23-17.” Greg Gianforte was among the 23 republicans voting to advance the bill. [CQ Committee Coverage, House Natural Resources Markup 10/11/2017]
H.R. 3990 Would Authorize Stripping National Monuments Protections From Large Swaths Of Public Lands. According to a summary written by the Congressional Research Service, under the provisions of H.R. 3990, if enacted: “The President may reduce the size of any declared national monument: (1) by 85,000 acres or less; or (2) by more than 85,000 acres only if the reduction has been approved by each county and state within whose boundaries the monument will be located and reviewed by Interior or USDA under the National Environmental Policy Act.” [115th Congress, H.R. 3990]
Montana Wilderness Association’s John Todd: “The Bill [Gianforte] Voted For Puts The Breaks In Perpetual Jeopardy And Cripples One Of The Best Tools We Have For Permanently Protecting The Places That Define Us As Montanans And As Americans.” In a story on a committee vote on H.R. 3990, the Helena Independent Record reported: “The vote drew similar criticism for some in Montana’s conservation community, which campaigned against Zinke’s national monument review. ‘Today Congressman Gianforte dismissed the overwhelming support Montanans gave national monuments over the summer, when more than 24,000 of us spoke up in defense of the Upper Missouri River Breaks (National Monument) and other places vital to our outdoor heritage,’ said John Todd, Montana Wilderness Association conservation director. ‘The bill he voted for puts the Breaks in perpetual jeopardy and cripples one of the best tools we have for permanently protecting the places that define us as Montanans and as Americans.’” [Helena Independent Record, 10/11/2017]
National Wildlife Federation President Collin O’Mara: “If This Bill Passes, Even Existing National Monuments Could Be Carved Up, Paved Over Or Opened To Mining And Drilling…” In covering the House Natural Resources Committee’s markup of H.R. 3990, CQ reported: “Conservation groups have warned that Bishop’s bill would damage the Antiquities Act and open up decisions on how public lands are used — to the benefit of industry. ‘If this bill passes, even existing national monuments could be carved up, paved over or opened to mining and drilling under arbitrary criteria and a process that shuts out the public,’ Collin O’Mara, the National Wildlife Federation’s president and CEO, said shortly before the vote.” [CQ Committee Coverage, House Natural Resources Markup 10/11/2017]
Greg Gianforte Introduced Legislation To Remove Wilderness Protections From 690,000 Acres Of Public Lands. On March 4, 2018, the Associated Press reported: “Montana U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte has drafted two bills proposing to release almost 690,000 acres of wilderness study areas in Montana. One of Gianforte’s bills echoes Montana Sen. Steve Daines’ bill introduced in the Senate late last year. It proposes to release 449,500 acres of wilderness study areas all on national forest lands. The Billings Gazette reports that Gianforte also authored a separate act to release an additional 240,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management wilderness.” [Associated Press/KULR News, 3/4/2018]
Greg Gianforte Joined Party-Line Vote To Kill An Inquiry Into How Secretary Zinke Came Up With Monuments Review Plan. According to CQ News: “Natural Resources’ top Democrat Raúl M. Grijalva introduced a resolution (H Res 555) demanding that the administration release information and documents related to President Donald Trump’s April executive order calling for the review, as well as its recommendations. ‘We’d like to read the final report,’ Grijalva said. ‘We’d like to know who they talked to and what they said.’ In an earlier call with CQ, Grijalva said Democrats had ‘one correspondence after another’ requesting the information and had not received a response. ‘It goes beyond irony . . . it’s a pattern in this administration that you speak through both sides of the mouth,’ he said. The committee, in another party-line vote of 23-17, unfavorably reported the resolution, meaning that it will be sent to the House but will not get a vote, essentially killing it.” According to CQ coverage of the committee markup, Gianforte voted with the Republicans for the unfavorable report that would essentially kill the resolution. [CQ News, 10/11/2017; CQ Committee Coverage, House Natural Resources Markup 10/11/2017]
Gianforte Voted To Expand Oil And Gas Drilling On Federal Land. According to a CQ report on a House Natural Resources Committee markup session: “The House Natural Resources Committee advanced Wednesday a Republican-backed effort to expand oil and gas drilling on federal land and offshore after a series of Democratic amendments meant to ensure environmental protections were defeated. Republicans blocked 11 Democratic amendments to the bill (HR 4239), which moved out of committee, 19-14, along party lines.” Gianforte was among the Republicans voting to favorably report the bill. [CQ Committee Coverage, House Natural Resources Markup 11/8/2017]
Greg Gianforte Voted To Undermine Sustainable Forest Management Practices. Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) sponsored H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, which would severely undermine sustainable forest management policies and roll back critical environmental safeguards for our nation’s forests. H.R. 2936 would allow large-scale timber projects to skip needed environmental reviews and would expand exclusions ideally meant for non-controversial forest management practices. Additionally, H.R. 2936 reduces public participation and input in the environmental review process, waives the ability for citizens to challenge harmful logging projects in court, and limits the rights of citizens to recover attorneys’ fees when they prevail in court. On November 1, the House approved H.R. 2936 by a vote of 232-188. Gianforte voted YES. The pro-environment position was NO. [House Vote #598, 11/1/2017; LCV 2017 Scorecard]
Greg Gianforte Voted For An Attack on Minnesota’s National Forests. Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN) sponsored H.R. 3905, the Minnesota’s Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act, which would allow mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and undermine key environmental protections for the Boundary Waters, Voyageurs National Park, and the Superior and Chippewa National Forests. Among many harmful provisions, H.R. 3905 would waive normal environmental review and public input under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and grant two federal mineral leases that were denied by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, and this legislation would add significant barriers to designate national monuments under the Antiquities Act in Minnesota’s national forests. On November 30, the House approved H.R. 3905 by a vote of 216-204. Greg Gianforte voted YES. The pro-environment position was NO. [House Vote #643, 11/30/2017; LCV 2017 Scorecard]
Greg Gianforte Voted To Allow A Road To Be Built Through A Wildlife Refuge Without Environmental Review. Representative Don Young (R-AK) introduced H.R. 218, the King Cove Road Land Exchange Act, a radical bill that allows a road to be built through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and Izembek Wilderness without environmental review. H.R. 218 de-designates and transfers hundreds of acres of the refuge in exchange for lower quality state land and allows for a single-lane gravel road through the previously protected land. Building the road through the refuge and critical wetlands is a misguided attack that sets an alarming precedent for wildlife refuges and wilderness areas throughout the country, especially since most of the transferred area is land protected under the Wilderness Act – the highest level of conservation protection for federal lands. The proposed road would be built through critical lands that protect key habitat for species including bears, caribou, salmon, and many different species of birds (including most of the world’s population of Pacific black brant and emperor geese). On July 20, the House approved H.R. 218 by a vote of 248-179. Gianforte voted YES. The pro-environment position was NO. House Vote #406, 7/20/2017; LCV 2017 Scorecard]
Greg Gianforte Sued To Block Public Access To The Gallatin River In 2009. In May of 2016, the Missoulian reported: “Gov. Steve Bullock and Democratic organizers took aim at Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte on Monday after an anonymous liberal blog surfaced a 2009 lawsuit filed by a family-owned company to kill a public access easement in Bozeman. East Gallatin LLC sued Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in May 2009 to remove an easement that provided public access along the East Gallatin River, arguing that users were damaging adjacent land, the original 1993 agreement by a previous owner was invalid and that the public had sufficient access via two other nearby sites. The complaint was filed to create a foothold for a case, but the papers were never served to the agency. The dispute was resolved after a department visit to the site in July 2009 led to trail and fence upgrades that did a better job keeping users off the rest of the Gianforte property and the agency updated records on the easement boundaries, according to state documents requested by the State Bureau.” [Missoulian, 5/10/2016]