Target: Senator Max Baucus
Goal: Applaud Montana Senator for saving Montana’s wilderness
Montana Senator Max Baucus has strived to keep Montana’s wilderness pristine ever since he stepped into the House of Representatives in 1974. For decades he has struggled to repel coal and gold miners, oil drilling, and gas exploration from the Flathead River, North Fork Valley, and Glacier Park — and surprisingly his efforts have been mostly successful.
The Flathead River is known for its pristine and luminous waters, although when Baucus stepped into office, the waters were in danger of becoming polluted thanks to mining and drilling efforts. The river begins in British Columbia where it winds its way south into Montana; it is several hundred miles long. It is home to an endangered species of fish called the bull trout, who travel north to spawn. The North Fork valley is also home to deer, otters, grizzly bears, alongside a host of various other aquatic insects and plants. Because of its spectacular views, 2.5 million tourists are drawn to the area. If Baucus had not been so determined to save these lands from mining and drilling corporations, Montana’s tourism would have suffered tremendously.
Many corporations have tried to make money off of North Fork Valley and Glacier Park. A Toronto-based mining company proposed an open pit coal mining operation near Glacier Park. This proposal took place shortly after Baucus entered office and while he refused the proposal, the company wasn’t convinced and continued battling for mining rights. Other companies have tried as well, like the Cline Mining Corporation, which wanted to remove a mountain top near North Fork so it could acquire the coal underneath. British Petroleum wanted to construct drilling pads and pipelines underneath the region so it could get at the coal bed methane. Baucus then joined forces with Montana’s other senator Jon Tester and governor Brian Schweitzer to negotiate with Canadian officials.
In the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canadian authorities announced a moratorium on mining and hydrocarbon development on the Canadian side of North Fork. The pillar of Baucus’ career came when the North Fork Watershed Protection Act was passed; the bill permanently prevents the U.S. government from offering new oil and gas leases in the area, thereby protecting it from damage.
Baucus understands that saving this piece of treasured land will ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy it as well. He also understands how important it is to save the environment, as other species will be affected should the North Fork valley or the Flathead River become polluted. Applaud this man’s efforts and compassion by signing this petition.
Dear Senator Max Baucus,
I am writing to say a big thank you for your efforts in conserving the North Fork Valley and Flathead River of Montana. I understand how difficult it must be to gather enough people to believe in the same cause and to fight off the companies and corporations who wanted the mining or drilling rights. I am glad that you were able to pass the North Fork Watershed Protection Act as this shows the united front your state has towards preserving the waters and environment. This is a tantamount move as many of our environments are destroyed today for oil and gas; we need government officials who care about our planet.
I am so grateful that you wish for future generations to enjoy the beauty of the Montana wilderness, not just your generation. This is one of the core elements of conservationist efforts, to ensure that our children can see and still survive off of the environment. I hope that you will continue to influence others with your compassion towards the wilderness as it will help protect the planet. Again, thank you for your efforts.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Joe Riis via LCP