Tester Says He's Pro-Energy, But Voting Record Says Different

My opponent has talked a lot about making Montana a leader in this country's energy production, but his record doesn't match his rhetoric. Just in the last week, KTVQ in Billings broke the story on Jon Tester's vote against HB 495, introduced by State Representative Alan Olson (R-Roundup) and Jim Keane (D-Butte) in 2001, that allowed the Bull Mountain coal mine to be reopened and become a coal-to-liquids power plant as Governor Brian Schweitzer announced last Monday.

But you'd never know my opponent opposed legislation that allowed the Bull Mountain mine to re-open from the glowing praise he's heaped on the project in recent days. The bill that Tester voted against in 2001, HB 495, allowed revoked coal-mine permits to transfer to new owners without having to go through the entire re-permitting process.  While the new permit holders still were required to follow all public safety and environmental requirements, it significantly sped up the process for the mine to re-open for business.

Without the Olson-Keane bill, the Bull Mountain coal-to-liquids plant would not be a reality for Montanans. Tester's vote against this bill put his extreme environmental agenda ahead of creating 4,200 new jobs and $34 million in additional annual tax revenue for Montana.  To put in context how extreme his position is, the bill he voted against passed the Montana House 96-4 and the Senate 41-7, and was supported by 83% of Democrats.

It saddens me that my opponent would put his extreme agenda ahead of the well being of Montana. The Northern Plains Resource Council, an environmental group that says Tester votes with them 92% of the time, is one of the very groups trying to stop the Bull Mountain coal-to-liquids plant from re-opening.   It's hard to take Jon Tester at his word when he's got these same extreme environmentalists backing his bid for Senate.