HELENA, Mont. (AP) — While U.S. Sen. John Walsh visited with local newspapers in an attempt to move past the plagiarism scandal that broke last week, candidates for Montana's lone U.S. House seat laid out their ideas on energy and agriculture policy. Here is a look at the week's most interesting and important developments in Montana's election campaigns.
WALSH PLAGIARISM CASE:
Sen. John Walsh, who is trying to keep the seat he was appointed to in February, talked with The Billings Gazette and The Montana Standard this week about allegations that he used others' work without attribution in a 2007 research paper to earn a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College. Walsh said he hopes voters will consider his entire career when choosing between him and his Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, in November.
"I'm very hopeful that Montanans will look at my overall career and not just this one serious blemish," he told the Gazette.
The Department of Defense said this week it will review the findings of the plagiarism investigation that will conducted by the U.S. Army War College. The school's investigation begins Aug. 15, and a college official said he didn't think it would take long.
ZINKE PUSHES FOSSIL FUELS:
Republican U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke laid out an energy plan that emphasizes coal, oil and natural gas and opposes tax breaks that would subsidize the wind industry. He said government regulations are holding back companies seeking to extract fossil fuels. Zinke wants to streamline mining approvals and block the Obama administration's plan to reduce greenhouse gases from coal power plants. Zinke also wants to export more Montana coal and natural gas.
"With fracking, with coal, with the technologies available, we have that opportunity as a country to be energy independent," Zinke said. "We have to take it."
Democratic candidate John Lewis presented an energy plan in June that emphasizes renewable energy development and includes tax credits for coal mining on Indian lands. Lewis said Zinke's plan ignores Montana's promising wind power industry and other renewables like solar power.
"Let's invest in jobs and think about the long-term future, rather than draw a line in the sand and focusing just on our extractive industries," he said.