After enduring another hot, smoky summer, Montanans should actively encourage the adoption of the Build Back Better Act and the related infrastructure bill which passed the Senate in August. These bills will make critical contributions to Montana's economy. Montana is among the leading states in the size and importance of our outdoor recreation economy. Farming and ranching are also critical. These industries and the tens of thousands of jobs they currently support are literally entwined with Montana's identity as a state, and are at risk in a changing environment. Even now we see effects such as growing wildland fires, extreme weather, droughts and unsustainable streamflows with its impacts on floating, fisheries, irrigation, wildlife and livestock.
Much-needed investments made via the Build Back Better Act will create a stronger, more sustainable economy that will protect jobs and deliver significant returns over time, and it is becoming clearer with each year that we don't have additional decades to waste to address these problems. Even minor changes in the makeup of the Senate and House in the 2022 midterms could endanger any realistic chances at passing such legislation in the next decade. Faced with a climate that is risky in both a physical and political sense, it is important to act now on these proposals.