“Data from the US Drought Monitor now shows all counties in Montana experiencing abnormally dry to extreme drought conditions, and the situation continues to get worse.” the governor wrote. “I continue to call on @USDA to declare all of Montana a drought disaster area.”
The governor’s message was shared along with a map that highlighted the extent of the problem across the state, with the entire state in differing levels of drought.
He also shared another map by the Fire Protection Program at the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation alerting the public that the Northern Rockies Geographic Area had gone into the highest level of drought.
Along with the update, he wrote, “Let’s work together to reduce the burden on our first responders and use extreme caution when working and recreating outdoors.”
Droughts, which 93 per cent of the western region of the country is currently experiencing, are more frequent and extreme as the planet continues to warm.
A report by World Weather Attribution said these conditions would be “virtually impossible without human-caused climate change”.
The call for help comes days after it was announced that Mr Gianforte had withdrawn Montana from the Multi-State Climate Alliance last week. The alliance is a non-partisan group of states that seek to fight the climate crisis. It was established after President Trump removed the US from the the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement.
Montana Public Radio was told about Mr Gianforte opting not to renew membership in statement from the group, which includes states such as California, Maryland and North Carolina.
“While Montana is no longer a member, we continue to welcome a politically and regionally diverse group of governors to our coalition,” Evan Westrup, a representative for the 25 governors, told the radio station.
The governor’s request for help did not go unnoticed by his critics on social media.
One person wrote, “Yet you pull the state out of climate change agreements. Interesting.”
Mary Jo Walilko replied, “Yes let’s work together- follow the Paris accord!”
“How about addressing climate change?” another person said.
“You’re asking the Fed for welfare for ranchers to pay for your climate change denial? What happened to your ‘adapt and overcome’? Band-Aids aren’t a solution. This is the new normal, find solutions, not excuses,” wrote another person.
Another said, “Maybe you should stop posturing and start listening to climate experts to look at implementing real solutions…it’s going to get worse.”
“Gov Greg Gianforte withdrew Montana from a bipartisan coalition of more than two dozen states committed to upholding the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which include net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” wrote Eric Glaenzer.
In 2020, Mr Gianforte was given a low rating regarding his green credentials from the League of Conservation Voters, a non-profit highlighting the politicians and their environmental track record. He made it on their “Dirty Dozen”, a is a list that “highlights twelve of the worst environmental candidates in the nation at the state and local level.”
He has voted against many pieces of legislation seeking environmental protections, such as reducing funding to the EPA and stopping offshore drilling.