I don’t know about you, but I hoped for a few good things when I heard a Montanan was going to run the Department of Interior. But, after nearly nine months on the job, we know two things, that Ryan Zinke can ride a horse and that he is a radical fossil fuel cowboy.

Most people know that global warming comes from carbon dioxide, the pollution from burning coal and other fossil fuels that gets trapped in our atmosphere. We’re pouring some 110 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every 24 hours. But CO2’s “nasty little brother” is methane, and it’s also a big problem.

Methane is powerful, 80 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

Many believe it’s increasing because of fracking, the exploding the sub-surface shale deposits so that natural gas — which is methane — can leak out through newly opened pores. And leak it does. In May 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the first-ever national rules to stop methane leaks from oil and gas operations. The rules would limit flaring, venting, and leaking methane and other toxic gases from oil and gas wells directly into the air. Common sense, right?

Five years of work, nine public hearings, and more than 300,000 total comments went into developing these rules, but Secretary Zinke wants to roll back the rules and substitute a weaker ones, without a single public hearing.

Our friends at Northern Plains Resource Center have an on-line petition that goes directly to the Bureau of Land Management. If you want to do something about our warming climate, our Montana megafires, our smoke-filled late summer days, and our drying/warming streams and rivers, our drought-plagued agriculture, go here:


After you’ve done your part to prevent a Ryan Zinke nightmare, we hope you have a wonderful Halloween.

Jeff Smith, co-chair, 350 Montana