Western Values Project Action is launching the PUBLIC (Protecting the USA’s Beautiful Lands in Congress) Lands Campaign, first by releasing new in-district polling highlighting Montana voters’ strong opposition to legislation that threatens public lands and recent executive action reducing protected public lands in national monuments across the West. The PUBLIC Lands Campaign will hold Congressman Gianforte accountable for his votes on public lands legislation.
The final polling results can be found here. The poll reveals a strong disconnect on public lands between Rep. Gianforte and his constituents. Specifically, a clear majority (39% support/61% oppose) oppose laws that would reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and give presidents greater power to lift protections for public lands, including 46% who strongly oppose this legislation.
The new polling is part of a broader multi-platform ad campaign, with a series of new print, digital, and billboard advertisements telling Rep. Gianforte to protect public lands and national monuments. The ad asks Congressman Gianforte to definitively clarify his position on public land protections and key anti-public lands legislation that is making its way through Congress.
“While talking out of both sides of your mouth may work in Washington, D.C., people all across the West expect straight answers, especially on something as integral to our way of life as our public lands,” said Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project Action. “Congressman Gianforte will be a key vote on legislation that could have devastating impacts on public lands in his home state and across the West. Instead of wiggling his way out of answering repeated requests to clarify their position on public lands, he should face their constituents and tell them directly.”
The print, digital, and billboard advertisements and new polling follow television and radio ads and polling last month targeting Reps. Gianforte, Herrera Beutler, and McSally on their silence regarding President Trump’s decision to unlawfully gut two million acres of protected public lands in Utah. Secretary Zinke is currently reviewing nearly two dozen other national monument designations in the West.
The latest ad asks that if Congressman Gianforte “truly supports public lands,” then he needs to come out against H.R. 4532 and H.R. 3990 – “two bills among many in Congress that would end protections of our national treasures.” H.R. 4532 would codify Trump’s reduction of Bears Ears National Monument and H.R. 3990 — which Rep. Gianforte already voted for in committee — would eviscerate the Antiquities Act by allowing current and future Presidents to eliminate protections on public lands that were designated national monuments without congressional approval.
The ads will run in Rep. Gianforte’s district and prompt constituents to call his office seeking clarification on their positions.
“Given the strong opposition in Gianforte’s district to any legislation that undermines public land protections, one can only assume that unless he votes against these anti-public lands bills, he is indeed listening to the special interests who want nothing more than to exploit our public lands for their own gain,” said Saeger.
Also published on Medium.