On Friday, Montana’s U.S. Senators, Jon Tester and Max Baucus, introduced S. 2229, legislation to authorize right of way permits for a natural gas pipeline that runs through Glacier National Park. The pipeline has been there since the early 1960s, is deteriorating, and may rupture without repair work that the legislation allows.
I understand the need for this legislation. Though it’s not at all ideal for a natural gas pipeline to go through a national park, we don’t want to have flammable fossil fuels leaking out in that park, now that the pipeline is there. So, fine, I hope that the legislation is passed, and that the maintenance of the pipeline proceeds.
The thing is, that pipeline isn’t the only thing that needs maintenance in Glacier National Park. There’s a bigger deterioration going on – in the glaciers themselves. They’re melting because of global warming. Before too long, we may a Glacier National Park without any glaciers at all.
Communities near Glacier National Park need the natural gas that comes through that pipeline, but they also need the water that comes from the glaciers on the nearby mountains. When those glaciers are gone, where are they going to get their drinking water?
For that matter, how are those communities going to replace the tourist revenue that comes from people who have come to visit the glaciers? What are the going to do, rename the park as the Effects Of Global Warming National Park?
I’d like to see an amendment placed on that pipeline legislation, stating that no work on the pipeline can proceed until a comprehensive bill to slow the impact of climate change is passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law.