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Is Now Running for State’s Top Energy Post; Says His Critics are Bigoted

Bases Beliefs on “Scientific Investigation”

I was reminded today about an amusing yet distressing incident in 2006, when Roger Koopman told a crowd of school children in Bozeman that the earth is between 4,000 and 6,000 years old.

Koopman was then a state legislator.   He is now running for the Montana Public Service Commission, which has regulatory authority over many of Montana’s energy and climate policies, and other policy areas that are supposed to be informed by science.

An Associated Press reporter recorded the incident, which was instigated by Brian Schweitzer, the Governor.  Schweitzer was speaking to the assembly of elementary school children about global warming and energy policy, and saw Koopman in the crowd, so he decided to have some fun.  As was reported at the time:

Speaking to a crowd of school children, parents and teachers in Bozeman on Friday about global warming, Schweitzer asked how many in the crowd thought the Earth was hundreds of millions of years old. Most of the children in the audience raised their hands.

He then asked how many believed the planet was less than a million years old. At least two people, including Koopman, who was in the crowd, raised their hands.

During an interview later with the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Schweitzer noted Koopman‘s response. He said some people believe the planet is only 4,000 to 6,000 years old, despite geological evidence to the contrary.

Schweitzer said he needs support from a state Legislature that will help move Montana‘s agenda forward, ”not people who think the Earth is 4,000 years old.”

Koopman called the comments insulting.

In a later interview, Koopman said that the criticism was “bigoted” and that his belief as to the age of the planet earth “is not based on his faith but on his scientific investigations.”  It would be nice to see Jon Vincent, Koopman’s opponent for the PSC seat, remind voters that Roger Koopman is a half sandwich shy of a picnic.

Then again, it shouldn’t really surprise anybody that the GOP’s nominee for this office would hold such beliefs.  The Montana GOP is highly concerned with religious doctrine.  Here is a series of tweets made last week by the director of the state Republican Party:

This diary is cross posted at the Montana Cowgirl Blog.
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