Archive for December 8th, 2008

by jhwygirl

Not exactly a classy way to go out the door, posting this:

I guess if he doesn’t give a you-know-what, why should I?

Doug “woe-is-me” Mood fails to recognize that quite possibly his loss was tied to his lack of support for green and alternative energy or his infamous vote while in the legislature which led to deregulation of Montana Power – and what observers around the nation recognize as a massive catastrophic mistake for the citizens of Montana. Instead blames it on Missoulians:

I managed to put together a majority of the votes in every county of the PSC District,…except Missoula. Coming out of Missoula County I was 11,400 votes behind. In the rest of the district I was ahead by 8000 votes.

My opponent got 15,359 votes in the non-Missoula counties, and 32,616 in Missoula County (two thirds of her total vote).

I got 23,359 votes in the non-Missoula counties and 21,222 votes in Missoula county.

I want to thank all the voters of District who have so kindly given me their support over the past many years. Perhaps we’ll meet again.

Oh, those crazy Missoulians….

You know, maybe – just perhaps – the voters in PSC district 4 recognized that Gail Gutsche would use her time in the PSC to seek to expand development of renewable and clean energy sources while recovering low cost options and ensure that we have low energy prices while doing it?

In other words – maybe Gail Gutsche was the best candidate.

Mood also takes the time to post a full map of the United States, showing the winner of the presidential race, county by county, democrat v republican. How that correlates with his loss in the PSC, well, let’s just say that’s lost upon me. Be sure to check it out.

On the other hand, it looks like Bill Clinton has gotten a reprieve from being blamed for everything. I’m sure he’s relieved.

by jhwygirl

Bob Gentry over at Left in the West has a great breakdown of the failures of DEQ in permitting the Rock Creek silver mine which has been proposed for the Cabinet Mountains.

Montana Supreme Court threw out DEQ’s permit – remanding it back to the district court that had ruled in its favor – saying that failure to do a comprehensive nondegradation review of water quality and relying on a water treatment facility was a violation of state law. The court went on further to question DEQ’s reliance on a treatment facility that would essentially be needed forever, while failing to recognize that perpetual need. The court continued and even further, criticizing DEQ for placing an arbitrary bonding amount on said treatment facility without factoring in maintenance and the companies ability to maintain responsibility over the treatment facility which was key to DEQ’s original decision to waive off the water quality degradation review.

Aye yi yi…as I’ve said before: It makes me wonder what we don’t hear about.

Meanwhile, a blowout of the Big Dick Mine near Garrison – which happened sometime around Thanksgiving – has officials tasked with a problem to which they really haven’t even been able to grasp since it’s discovery just over two weeks ago.

The Big Dick Mine produced gold, silver, lead and other metals from 1905 until the ’40’s..and may have been opened up again in the ’70’s and ’80’s. In closing the mine, DEQ required that an earthen core be used to close the mine (according to the permit.) It is that earthen core that blew out once pressure built as water built up internally.

The mine is #68 on the state’s Abandoned Mine Priority List. There are over 300 mines on the list.

Check out the thumbnail pictures on the right – the second one from the top shows the force with which the mine blew.

At the first inspection, the force of he mine had destroyed a nearby road, knocked over some nearby buildings, and had contaminated 3 miles of the Little Blackfoot River. A waist-deep channel has been carved into the mountain, and the bright orange crap continues to flow at a rate of 5 to 20 gallons per minute.


The Little Blackfoot is that lovely little river that most people are familiar with as it snakes it way along Highway 12 on the way from Garrison to Helena. Fabulous for fishing, I saw 4 bald eagles fishing its waters this week. There is also a tremendous amount of agricultural activity along the river, with cattle ranchers relying on its waters for their agricultural operations.

Then again, I’ve told ya’all before – don’t kid yourself into thinking that Montana is an agricentric state anymore. We’ve got priorities, and they don’t include water for ag producers.

The blow out of this mine should raise concerns for water quality aficionados from Mineral, Missoula, Granite, Powell, Lewis & Clark and Lincoln counties, just to name a few. How many mines were filled with earthen cores without inspection to see whether subsurface water sources had been disturbed?

As precious metals rise in value, mining has increased in the area. How many of you all know that? How much scrutiny and monitoring is given to these mines? Does DEQ even have sufficient personnel to monitor this stuff?

What is a mine operators responsibility over these issues – and do they have any responsibility, given that the recent Montana Supreme Court decision shed light on DEQ’s arbitrary bonding amount requirements, and even worse, DEQ’s failure to require comprehensive degradation reviews.

It seems to me that ongoing monitoring is needed when someone (i.e., a mine operator) goes drilling into the earth. Water sources can be directly or indirectly disturbed, and without ongoing monitoring – and comprehensive inspection prior to closing – bad things can happen.

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