By Deb Courson

The U.S. House spending bill has received a new round of scrutiny, this time through the lens of conservation, with an eye towards clean air and water as well as recreation and wildlife. The measure and selected amendments are featured in a “scorecard” from Montana Conservation Voters (MCV) and the national League of Conservation Voters. Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg (R) scored a “4” out of a possible “100,” for one vote to support energy efficiency and renewable energy.

MCV chair Ryan Busse reacts to the other votes tracked…

“It’s tough for us to understand how you can sacrifice Montana clean water regulations on coal run-off at a time of budgetary constraint, and then at the same time, hand money to oil companies when they’re making money hand over fist.”

Busse says his hope is that the U.S. Senate will reverse some of the House’s actions. He thinks a discussion about jobs connected with the House decisions was missing, as he links environmental priorities with the outdoor recreation economy in Montana.

“Little towns in every corner of Montana: restaurants, hotels, fly shops, guides, outfitters, tire shops, gas stations, every single one of those depends upon the hunting and fishing and outdoor economy.”

The spending plan has been debated as full of tough decisions to cut federal spending, with a goal of reducing the deficit. The scorecard tracked 25 specific votes, ranging from amendments to block the EPA from enforcing pollution control, to legislation to take away funding for climate change research.

The full scorecard is at lcv.org