A primer on environmental lawsuits

Years ago I was granted an interview with a prominent Republican state senator in Montana for my little public access TV show. I won’t mention his name because I was surprised at his lack of depth. I expected a clever and perhaps even thoughtful man, and instead was confronted with a non-thinking reactionary.

One of his attitudes that surprised me was a belief that environmentalists conspire and plan lawsuits for the sole purpose of thwarting logging sales.  The objective, in his mind, was merely to be obstructionist. He viewed them as a scheming group of malcontents with nothing better to do than throw lawsuits at the wall, hoping some might stick.

I ran into this attitude again yesterday in the comments at another website where Big Swede offered the following in response to a satiric piece on the attitudes of Montana’s congressional delegation, Zinke, Tester and Daines, towards the timber industry and Wall Street*:

In related news Senator Tester introduced legislation for environment groups to post bonds when protesting timber sales over environment concerns. [/satire]

Anyone with understanding of the court system knows that frivolous activities are not tolerated, are in fact punished. Anyone familiar with environmental groups knows that they lack the one thing that their opponents have in glorious abundance: Cash.

Consequently, environmentalists have to be selective in challenging industry, limiting their efforts to low-hanging fruit. That would be cases where laws are flagrantly violated by the agencies and timber companies. They often win in those cases, which the logging companies and captive agencies find infuriating.

The industry response has been predictable: To use their sock puppets in congress to pass laws that bypass citizen challenges in the courts, and to use public relations to demonize environmentalists in the public mind.
* Quoting JC: “Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester held listening sessions with forestry corporate CEOs on Wall Street last summer…” hilarious!

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