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Press Releases Tim Sheehy Climate Change Monday, Aug 21 2023

ICYMI: MT Senate Candidate Tim Sheehy’s “Shameless Opportunism On Climate”

Aug 21, 2023

In case you missed it, over the weekend HuffPost highlighted a brazen display of flip-flopping and “shameless opportunism” by Montana GOP Senate candidate Tim Sheehy. Sheehy has built his business on “government contracts to confront the threat of climate-exacerbated wildfire” but now as he races to the right to avoid a bruising primary, he is doing a complete 180, attacking policies he once supported.

Take a look at key points from the report below. 

HuffPost: Double Dip: A GOP Senate Candidate’s Shameless Opportunism On Climate

By Chris D’Angelo | August 19, 2023

Key Points:

  • When it came to growing and promoting his aerial firefighting company, Montana businessman Tim Sheehy was, for years, outspoken about the need to combat global climate change, even publicly supporting a major initiative to curb emissions and invest in climate resilience.

  • But since launching his Republican bid for Senate in June, Sheehy has toed the party line on climate, railing against what he calls the “climate cult” and the “disastrous socialist Green New Deal.”

  • On one hand, his sudden shift is unsurprising, given he’s seeking the Republican nomination in an increasingly deep-red state.

  • On the other hand, it is a shameless display of opportunism and partisan rhetoric that comes as the nation suffers rapidly worsening climate impacts — and as Sheehy’s company, Bridger Aerospace, continues to tout itself as a leader in the fight against planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Sheehy has continued to serve as Bridger’s chief executive officer since launching his Senate bid, and campaign advertisements have prominently featured the company’s aircraft. If elected to the Senate, he would have oversight over the same federal agencies that have bankrolled his business. All of this has raised conflict of interest questions, as Bloomberg and NBC News have reported.

  • Climate change has been a major part of Bridger Aerospace’s marketing and business strategy.

  • In a presentation to investors this month, the company boasted that its mission is to “directly attack CO2 emissions to combat climate change.” One slide includes a graphic detailing the “vicious cycle” between increasingly catastrophic wildfires, carbon pollution and planetary warming. Another notes that “climate change has elongated the active northern hemisphere fire season.”

  • In a separate presentation this month about its second-quarter earnings, Bridger wrote that “demand for aerial firefighting continues to grow driven by climate change, population moving to wildfire prone areas and shift from ground to air-based suppression.”

  • A Bridger filing with the SEC for the 2022 fiscal year features the word “climate” dozens of times, mostly in the context of how climate change could impact the company’s future business.

  • Sheehy also seems to be distancing himself from that legacy. Sometime before Sheehy announced his Senate bid, Bridger scrubbed climate language from its website, including a line about the company “fighting on the front lines of climate change,” ABC News reported last month.

  • Sheehy’s campaign website features an issues page that is chock-full of favorite Republican talking points. In a section on forest management, Sheehy touts having created 200 jobs in the aerial firefighting sector before railing against both the federal government — his company’s biggest client — and “radical environmentalists.”

  • Another section of the website, on the economy and energy, notes that the U.S. must “take a strong stand against the disastrous socialist Green New Deal that would destroy Montana’s economy and jobs and devastate our communities.”

  • But as recently as two years ago, Sheehy publicly supported major climate initiatives, including a blue state legislative package with provisions that mirror aspects of the Green New Deal, a progressive set of guiding principles to rein in greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience.

  • Earlier this week, a Montana judge ruled in favor of 16 youth plaintiffs who sued the state in 2020 and argued that state agencies had violated their constitutional right to a “clean and healthful environment” by approving fossil fuel projects without considering climate impacts. Sheehy joined Daines and other Montana Republicans in attacking the judge, the young Montana plaintiffs — his would-be constituents — and Democratic climate policies.

  • “The latest example of a liberal activist judge trying to legislate radical Green New Deal disastrous policies from the bench,” Sheehy wrote on social media. “We must fight back and take a strong stand against the climate cult and their job-killing agenda.”

  • Just not when it involves securing government contracts to confront the threat of climate-exacerbated wildfire, apparently.

Published: Aug 21, 2023 | Last Modified: Feb 1, 2024

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