Tango took rural reps, too

  Dear HCN,

As a longtime environmental activist living in Montana and involved in a number of collaborative efforts, I question Mr. Ring's assumption that it is environmentalists alone who have failed to compromise or work towards shared solutions.After all, it takes two to tango. Looking at the environmental scorecard of Montana Conservation Voters, we see a zero rating next to nearly all the representatives of those rural districts, nearly all Republican, many with a reactionary anti-government bent.

Furthermore, the attitude of Mr.Wayne Hirst, from the soon-to-be Superfund-designated town of Libby, speaks volumes about the contradictory, self-defeating thought processes of so many Montanans. Rather than blame the company that poisoned his fellow citizens, he dutifully repeats the industry line, blaming bears and Clinton for the Champion International pullout. Pictured on his deck enjoying his private piece of paradise, he decries "yuppies and developers" for pushing residential sprawl to the mountains!

On a positive note, there are a few collaborative, watershed-based efforts, such as the Big Hole River Foundation, The Blackfoot Legacy and the Bitterroot Water Forum, providing a ray of hope for Montana's unique landscapes.

David Jones
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The writer is a former board member of Montana Trout Unlimited and Montana Conservation Voters.