Montana Gov. Vetoes Anti-Environment Bills with a Branding Iron (Video)

I think I've found my new hero. It's a good thing that we've still got politicians like Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer -- folks who are willing to stand up against corporate interests and fight to protect the will of the people. See, as has happened in so many places around the nation, an emboldened Republican party attempted to ram through a bunch of environmentally devastating state laws by tapping into that ol' anti-regulation sentiment -- laws that would allow cyanide open pit gold mining and would roll back Montana's renewable energy standard, among other things. But the public expressly opposed such laws, so Schweitzer got out his veto pen -- or should I say, massive veto branding iron. Watch the ceremony above.And that's what I love about this -- Schweitzer isn't vetoing laws he knows are bad for his state and using ambiguous politi-speak to justify the move in some attempt to save face. That's standard operating procedure. No, instead, the governor is making a gesture that's bold and 100% clear -- try to push through laws that reflect the will of corporations instead of the will of the people, and you get the branding iron. Your ideas will be challenged in the public sphere.

We should be seeing stuff like this much, much more often. Just because Republicans and the Tea Party won a decisive election victory last November, it doesn't mean they have a license to push through policies that the public doesn't support -- the GOP's effort to roll back the Clean Air Act and defund the EPA comes to mind. In the most recent poll, 77% of Americans said they wanted Congress to leave the EPA alone and let it do its job of enforcing the Clean Air Act. House Republicans pushed on and sought to scrap the EPA anyways.

But none of our national leaders stood up and said -- look, the American people are against you. They're against letting corporations have free reign to pollute our communities and environment. Nobody did a strong job of calling them out -- certainly not Obama. That has to change.

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Tags: Alternative Energy | Congress | United States