Archive for April, 2009

by jhwygirl

A NYTimes article, Big Sky State makes play to be a CO2 importer reminds us of another environmental disaster-in-waiting SB498 sits awaiting signature from Governor Schweitzer.

Yeah! Let’s take Canada’s carbon dioxide! /snark

Ugh. Let’s hope the Governor goes “veto” on this one.

With recent EPA declarations regarding the regulation of CO2 – one has to wonder if its wise to attempting to regulate an untested process when the federal government has just declared its intention to regulate the same?

I must, once again, direct readers to two excellent posts on the subject of carbon sequestration: Button Valley Press’ Captive Carbon? and CO2 Going To The Birds. Both of those posts do a good job at explaining why injecting carbon dioxide into the ground is a stupid, stupid thing – but how nonsensical it is to build pipe and infrastructure all for additional processing of a pollutant in search of “clean coal”.

The feds have been halting all carbon dioxide emitting plants for months now – which is why the Highwood plant withdrew its plans for burning coal – clearly coal is receiving attention from the Obama administration, and consideration is being given as to what “clean coal” really means, and how do we get there?

Until that process is worked out – and clearly, the EPA declaration is going to take some time to work out – the state would do well to wait before acting. Investors are going to have to do the same…and the actions taken at Highwood confirm that wait-and-see approach.

SB498 has “scary” parts too – the sequestration (transport drilling piping and storage of carbon dioxide) would be be regulated by the Board of Oil & Gas – not DEQ which most would say are much better equipped both administratively and legislatively – to deal with regulating the transport of pollution.

An appointed board – that ovesees the industry that has to deal with this CO2. Conflict of interest, anyone?

Another “scary”? This is actually written into this bill:

(8) Solely for the purposes of administering carbon dioxide injection wells under this part, carbon dioxide within a geologic storage reservoir is not a pollutant, nuisance, or a hazardous or deleterious substance.”

Let’s hope for a veto on this one….I know I am.

by Pete Talbot

This will make Rob Natelson happy. In February, over at Electric City Weblog, Prof. Natelson said there was just too much native news in Montana’s newspapers (as opposed to right-wing, white-guy news).

Ms. Rave is leaving the Lee Enterprises newspaper chain (papers in Missoula, Billings, Helena, Butte and Hamilton) to write a book about Blackfeet activist Elouise Cobell. With the dire straights that newspapers are in these days, she probably won’t be replaced anytime soon.

I stumbled across this story at the Reznet website, a project at the University of Montana school of journalism. I imagine we’ll hear more in our state’s newspaper columns over the next few days.

Rave brought a unique perspective to Lee’s newspapers — one that was sorely needed, especially in Indian Country. Her contributions will be missed but I look forward to her book.

(Update: I don’t know how I missed her column on the editorial page of today’s Missoulian.  It’s a good read.  Hat tip to JC.)


by jhwygirl

But I am awed by a President that can stand at a podium, give a press conference and then take questions and – and – answer them.

No goofy jokes? No smart ass answers?

Has it been that long? Should I be awed by something like this?

What is this? His 3rd press conference? 4th?

Wow.

by jhwygirl

The Helena IR, yesterday, called it the sesson’s “Trojan Horse” and Lord knows I’ve ranted about this one numerous times already. So has Politics, Peaks, and Valley, which took a scathing swipe at both HB575 and its author, Democrat Representative Bill McChesney, of Billings.

This bill saw opposition in committee and impassioned debate on the Senate floor.

Many saw it as the affront to senior water rights that it is. Senators from both sides of the aisle. In the end, it was a 30-20 vote which sent it to the Governor.

This bill would have created a special “give me” water permit to coal bed methane operators, effectively sanctioning destruction and salination of water wells. Even in closed basins.

This bill was bad – it ignored the property rights behind water rights, and it was a pure affront to Montanan’s right to a clean and healthful environment.

And how I love referring to it in past tense verbs….Because….

It appears that the Good Gov has vetoed this bill, based on that big hint from the Flathead Beacon, and a twiny twitter from Session ’09.

But that’s all I got for now…..we’ll have to wait to find out what all was vetoed today.

A veto of HB575 gives Schweitzer some major street cred on environmental issues (IMHO)….

Governor? Thanks!

Olympia Snow

by jhwygirl

Reacts.

That’s pretty fast, no?

I sympathize for her.

by jhwygirl

I think the county fairgrounds should be relocated and rebuilt with the historic buildings down by Fort Missoula and make that whole area a combination park and historic center and activity/expo center.

Fort Missoula is the biggest bestest asset the county has – and it speaks to what Missoula and Montana and the history of our nation. Incorporating the fairgrounds down there would be one of the smartest things that could happen for both the fairgrounds and the Fort.

Then that property should be sold to some housing trust where the underlying ground collects perpetual income from a mixed-use, predominately affordable housing development.

Hey! I can dream, can’t I?!

by jhwygirl

I’ve yet to write about Ezra Klein’s visit to Missoula last week to speak on health care (or my meeting with Wulfgar! – I don’t know which was a bigger event!), but one thing that Ezra spoke of was our senator’s important – very important – roll in instituting some sort of health care policy.

Max is the man, because, when it comes down to it, it’s about the money. It’s always about the money. And with Sen. Baucus as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, nothing will get done without going through his committee.

Before heading home, Ezra Klein sat down with Montana journalist Mike Dennison for an interview. While that interview was posted in several places, the Billings Gazette gets the link because it had the most comments.

I’ll note that blogs aren’t unique in having commentators that resort to personal attacks – in this case, the usual: Forward Montana – and anything but the subject at hand.

Congressional Quarterly Politics has a nice interview with our Senator Baucus on the subject of health care. Baucus is clearly wrestling with the idea of having a government-run health care insurer – whether it is necessary and what, if any, role one would play.

Wednesday begins the formal policy discussions in the Senate on health care reform and national health care.

While a government-run insurance plan was still on the table, Baucus said “it might be a bit on the side of the table.” Instead, he said, he would focus on preserving the insurance system for self-insured companies while expanding private insurance and public programs such as Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor. “We’ll end up with more private insurance and more public insurance,” he said.

He later backed off that statement slightly, saying he might return to the government-run idea later on. Baucus has previously backed the idea of a government-run plan to compete with private insurers and drive down costs, but the political difficulty of the idea has put pressure on him to drop it. Many Republicans vehemently oppose any idea of a government-run insurance plan, while many of the left are demanding its inclusion.

The CQ piece mentions Baucus’ “white paper”. People should really go read it before going off and ranting about “socialism”.

It’s fair to note that while there were many skeptics when it comes to Baucus and health care reform, virtually all health care policy analysts on the progressive side have agreed that Baucus is serious about health care reform and that he is clearly seizing his lead in guiding the process.

On Tuesday, Baucus released this report to the Senate Finance Committee as a precursor the the initial discussions, which begin Wednesday, April 29th.

Health care is the largest policy initiative that has been so very very long in coming, in all honesty there’s a part of me that can’t comprehend that there is actually going to be serious discussion working towards solutions. It’s not something that I’ll be reading about like fiction or hypothetical – it’ll all be something that is going to end up being something real.

.

 

shoot-foot

by problembear

when colin powell defected from the republican party and endorsed obama for president over john mccain last fall you could see that moderate reasonable republicans were getting fed up with the right wing nut leanings of the republican party leadership…today with specter’s defection i can’t help wonder if this is just the start of many such defections….

no reasonable moderate party says that they hope that their president and their nation will fail in rebuilding our economy…

no reasonable and fair-minded party stands in the way of predatory lending reform…

no reasonable and responsible party continues to lobby for tax advantages for the rich when so many are without jobs…

no reasonable and THINKING party continues to support private health care insurance plans over single payer universal health care for everyone…

arlen specter chose wisely today. the republican party leadership has driven the republican party over the cliff by embracing zealous lockstep radical right wing agendas which seem to be at odds with mainstream and main street america. 

i have my eye on at least 4 more republican senators and at least 12 republican representatives in congress. back atcha right wing zealots – here’s hoping your agendas all fail.

by Pete Talbot

It started as a rumor but was confirmed by the Missoulian. Smurfit-Stone will continue its 10-day shutdown for another 30 days — to June 1.

That’s 280 people out of work in the Missoula area, for at least a month. Add that to what could be 369 Plum Creek layoffs (Ksanka mill in Eureka and Pablo mill closed, Evergreen and Columbia Falls being eyed for closure) and that’s a lot of unemployed Western Montana timber industry workers. Our sympathies to them and their families.

It should be noted that Plum Creek’s first quarter profits were $175 million but, obviously, not from the sale of timber products.

by jhwygirl

Take the test.

I scored 315.

by jhwygirl

Flathead Beacon is reporting that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will be in Helena on Sunday, 10 a.m., for a major announcement.

Sen. Tester and the Good Gov will be joining him.

This past Wednesday, Tester’s office announced $33.2 million in funding for national park sites around Montana – including a nice $620,000 for the Big Hole National Battlefield.

Could it be that, or is there something else in the works?

by jhwygirl

Alternate title: How Dangerous is the Montana GOP? Answer: Very

I don’t know how much people have heard or read about Wednesday’s vote on HR3 (I ever-so-briefly mentioned it here), but as a result of the party-line 50-50 vote, Democrats are receiving nasty emails and death threats for their “no” vote.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Michael More, of Gallatin Gateway. HB3 was a reintroduced version of HJ26 which failed in committee and a blast motion on to the floor.

HB3 was presented at a “state’s rights” bill, but had overtones of secession and asserted that Montana was not subjected to the United States Constitution. James Conner, of Flathead Memo has a great piece up, history lesson and all, titled Will Montana fire on Fort Sumter? that should not be missed.

He also took the initiative to find out who the “horsetrading Democrat” was that let this thing ooze out of committee for the House floor vote: Great Falls’ Rep. Deb Kottel, which, sadly, is of little surprise.

Another great piece on the HB3 bill and subsequent vote is the UM School of Journalism’s The Session ’09 piece, titled Montana ‘state’s rights’ resolution fails on tied vote. That post includes some great background information and links to the out-of-state organizations supporting similar types of legislation elsewhere in the United States.

More is unapologetic about the “right-wing extremism” nature of the bills. From Molly Priddy’s piece:

“This is a debate that has been a long time coming,” More said. The resolution may be labeled as “right wing extremism,” but it really deals with states’ rights versus federal laws, he said, adding that secession is not the goal, but neither is it out of the question.

Priddy get’s even better from Laurel’s Rep. Krayton Kerns:

Rep. Krayton Kerns, R-Laurel, said though the resolution does not imply that Montana will secede from the union, there is always the possibility.

“(Secession) is the big stick in the room that we have to occasionally display,” Kerns said. “This resolution is a shot over the bow.”

Krayton Kerns sure does love waving the saber, doesn’t he?

~~~~~

This is your Montana GOP, folks. Make no mistake – not one Republican broke ranks on this bill (including Missoula’s HD-100 Rep. Bill Nooney). Even now, not even one senate Republican has spoken out against this dangerous nonsense.

Nor has Montana’s representation in Washington, Rep. Denny Rehberg.

The death threats? Two days of them, now, and still {crickets} from the Republicans.

Even conservative bloggers have been silent.

This is dangerous stuff, and had this bill made it into the Senate (and I guess we should be thankful to Kottel for her “no” vote on the floor, right?), there is no telling what might of happen.

This type of persistent – remember, this bill was attempted twice, in two versions – unabashed and unapologetic “right-wing extremism” should not be welcomed. It should be drawn out, exposed, talked about and openly condemned.

Not just by Democrats, but by Republicans too.

by jhwygirl

I don’t think Montana House and Senate Democrats should consider, in seeking compromise or cooperation, trading Healthy Montana Kids funding for stupid stuff like SB505 which would create special rules for coal bed methane water, and exempt it from normal permitting procedures, ignoring senior water rights.

SB94 is another one that shouldn’t be ‘traded’ to seeking that health care vote either – this bill revises closed basin water permitting.

Ugly HB575 has already passed both houses and now sits with the Good Gov who has the choice of signing the thing or committing it to VETO….the latter of which would be a far better vote in support of senior property and water rights.

Any vote in support of any of the above bills – whether it is the Governor signing them or the legislature voting on ’em – is a vote ignoring property rights.

This wouldn’t be horse-trading – it’d be blackmail. There’s a difference.

We know it’s going on, too – that HR3 even saw a 2nd floor reading in the House shows that kind of nonsense shenanigans are going on.

Some bills deserve purgatory hell. You don’t deal with the devil – you get devil babies.

Who needs devil babies?

Keep in mind the mantra behind the supporters of these bills – if you don’t support these, you don’t support development which really means that development (their emphasis, not mine) has greater rights than an individual here in Montana.

Think about that.

I see I’ve digressed….

There’s other nasties out there, too – don’t think this short list is it. As Button Valley notes, you never know when an ugly one is going to pop up.

What voters here in Montana expect our elected officials to do is to do the right thing. Stand strong on Healthy Montana Kids and senior property rights and senior water rights.

We voters will remember both the good and the bad…and that includes the foolish elected who vote against funding health care for Montana’s kids the way the voters intended it to be funded.

by jhwygirl

Will the legislature meet its constitutionally imposed 90 day deadline to get the budget done? Today’s Missoulian story on that subject is basically a rehashed story a’la 2007 – no fault of their own…I think we expect the legislators in Helena to kick things into a second session.

Now, rumors have been circulating the halls of the Capitol for just over two weeks now – that the legislature was going to break early to allow the fires that have started some time to cool down so that all that crazy talk can rest and some common sense can overtake like that of the cooperative nature we saw in the beginning days of the session.

But, alas, it’s kind of hard to quell crazy talk when the Governor is threatening to call a special session. It’s unnecessary, no? I mean, if they don’t get the budget done – and they know they have to do it – it’s not a secret or anything – then they come back for a special session..but saying “I don’t have a problem calling a special session,” just seems, well…showboating, no?

Then the Good Gov has to throw into that “threat” that he’ll “pick the hottest five days in June.The temperature inside will be about 90 degrees. That will speed things along.”

He added that he’d cut off the air conditioning as a energy-saving matter.

Wow…Now there’s incentive for these guys and gals, huh?!

5 days in June when the rest of Montana is out enjoying the sun and the mountains and the rivers? Just the environment for hashing out the most important piece of work that they have to get done.

Hell, I bet some of them are absolutely fine with the proposition.

~~~~~~

HB2 is in committee hearing today at 10 a.m. This is where Healthy Montana Kids will be discussed, and it is expected that both House and Senate Democrats will hold the line and insist on full funding as approved by the voters.

I stand in support with House and Senate Democrats- threat of a second session or not. Let your legislative representation know, whether they be Republican or Democrat Call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800.

While your at it, Missoulians might want to leave a special message solely for Bill Nooney. As I mentioned in this previous post, Nooney might want to reconsider his vote against fully-funding Healthy Montana Kids, given the numbers. He won his election with a squeak of a margin, while I-155 (the bill that created Healthy Montana Kids) won Montana with a 76.6% majority.

You were elected to represent your entire district Nooney, and not your gravel-pit industry lovin’ you-know-what.

by jhwygirl

Wednesday night in Missoula, all good smart progressives will be at The Badlander to hear Ezra Klein, associate editor of The American Prospect, former blogging companion to Left in the West’s Matt Singer and one of the important voices of the progressive movement speak.

Ezra Klein!? Like…WOW! I remember seeing him in “the tent” at the Democratic National Convention and I was, indeed, star-struck. Who doesn’t read Ezra Klein?

Enough blabbering…

Klein is here at the invite of Forward Montana, the Service Employees International Union Montana, Blue Mountain Clinic, Health Care for America Now and a whole bunch of other great helper-outters.

Ezra’s a policy guy, and Wednesday is a chance to hear one of the most knowledgeable voices in America speak out on one of the most important policy decisions and changes that America will experience in your lifetime. Health care is an issue that affects each and every one of us – whether you have health care or you don’t – and whether you are rich or you are poor. The economic repercussions reverberate throughout our economy…America is losing its competitive edge due to rising health care costs….

But enough from me. Hear it from Ezra Klein. Wednesday night. 6 p.m. The Badlander. Missoula Montana.

reefer madness….

o_reefer_madness_wsdw1936

by problembear

those zany missoulians are at it again with their fist fight over whether the police and sheriff’s departments are ignoring a citizen’s initiative to make prosecution of small pot possession a low priority. i don’t actually have a selfish reason to join in the fray. i contracted whooping cough and bronchitis as a kid and can’t stand to smoke anything. all my sin is poured into my bear jaws in liquid form. while attending university of oregon in the seventies i was always the only one in the house who refused the puff at the party and endured my share of funny looks and paranoid stares from people who were sure i was the narc….and when i hit the scene here in missoula i always felt welcome at jim crumley’s parties but i often got the impression that some of his guests would have felt better if i had indulged in some killer weed once in awhile…but i digress…

i do however have a dog in this fight as a full fledged member of the “americans who believe it is none of your god-damned busy body business what i do as long as i don’t hurt anyone else.” (adults only please) i guess this zeal to stop reefer madness is the last remnant of reagan’s dream of america which has vaporized in a cloud of greed gone wrong. maybe this isn’t scientific or anything but i have never met anyone who is in favor of  maintaining archaic laws keeping small amounts of pot smoked by adults as felonious illegal possession. seems kind of ridiculous for our public servants to waste time money and jail space on this.

and as for allowing medical use for a pain and stress relieving drug to folks who could be helped by this there is absolutely no room to argue against this by any sane person. legalization for pot for any adult who wants it is the onlyanswer. none for me please…

by jhwygirl

Unbelievable the lives SB425 has – this thing was stalled in House FWP since the 8th of April – a blast out to the House floor attempt was made on Tuesday and failed – and a second blast was made today, which was successful.

Unbelievable.

Button Valley Bugle has really taken the lead on this ridiculous, foolhardy and ultimately costly to the taxpayers bill, and that link takes you to the most recent post, Devious Doin’s Walleye Welfare Is Back.

In its current state, this bill is nothing but a cover-up for an FWP boondoggle:

FWP agreed, when the hatchery was proposed in 1999, that it was not needed. They agreed to have it built only because proponents assured everyone that it could be run with funds from a warm water license stamp and would use no general license revenue. The hatchery was vastly overbuilt and now they want to repudiate that agreement and give the hatchery access to “revenue in the general license account or any federal funding available to the department.”

We’ve hit Walleye Welfare a couple of times here, too.

SB425 is on the House floor tomorrow, people. You can call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for as many as five legislators per call. Phone lines open at 7:30 a.m. Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462.

Locally, I see Bill Nooney voted to bring this out for a vote. Nice to know that Nooney is ready to raise fishing licensing fees for his constituents in an effort to subsidize a warm water fish hatchery.

Here is a list of how everyone voted on the blast.

by Pete Talbot

(As usual, jhwygirl beat me to the punch here. I have some additional links and comments, though, on the petition drive.)

Please, before signing the anonymous petition that’s spreading fear and misinformation about Missoula’s zoning rewrite, get the facts. Here is an information sheet from the Office of Planning and Grants. Here’s the petition (note the clever graphic of the small boy mowing the lawn while a skyscraper is erected in his backyard). Fact One: no person or group is taking responsibility for the petition. That should be a clue.

One of the comments on the Missoula City listserve was this:

Bob (Jaffe, Ward 3 Councilman), I suggest the petition is nothing more than politics-as-usual…and has little to do with the proposed zoning code. Roger (Millar, of OPG) and OPG and Duncan Associates needn’t spend time and energy in responding.

There’s an election coming up. Wedge issues are being formed. The petition is quite explicit about who’s being set up as targets: “Mayor Engen, city planners, and City Council members who advocate greater density.” Those who sign the petition are simply being asked (a) to invest themselves into political positions and (b) to provide contact information to political campaigns.

This statement is very accurate, but I’d also suggest that whoever is circulating this petition believes that the zoning rewrite is the death knell for neighborhoods and is trying to get others just as scared. OPG, the mayor’s office and council should respond.

In her post, jhwygirl poses the question as to whether the anonymous petition is violating campaign law. I’m no lawyer (collective sigh of relief) but I’ve been involved in a few campaigns. At this point, since the petition isn’t aimed at a candidate or issue that’s on any ballot, I’d say no. However, if it is used as an organizing tool to raise money, elect or defeat candidates, or sway opinion on a ballot issue in the upcoming municipal elections, then whoever is behind the petition would need to file as a political action committee.

by Bob Gentry

This piece is cross-posted from Left in the West. We’re happy to have it. – j-girl

In response to a 5 year old Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU, today the US Department of Justice released four memos generated during the Bush years by US DOJ Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) attorneys. The OLC is a component of the Justice Department created to provide “objective” legal advice to the AG and to resolve legal disputes among federal agencies. Each of these memos was directed to the attention of John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, and provided “legal opinions” regarding a few questions he had.

Here are the memos:

August 1, 2002, Memorandum for John Rizzo, Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency, Interrogation of al Qaeda Operative, by Jay S. Bybee

May 10, 2005, Memorandum for John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, by Steven Bradbury

May 10, 2005, Memorandum for John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, by Steven Bradbury

May 30, 2005 Memorandum for John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, by Steven Bradbury

I’ve read parts of all of them and all I could stomach of the August 1, 2002 memo by the Honorable Jay S. Bybee (now a Bush appointed 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge). I was on the verge of retching, not so much because of the graphic content of the memos, but because of the macabre torture of the rule of law set forth in every sterile sentence of these redacted memos. They are, quite simply, red hot insanity.

The August 2002 memo was written in response to questions from Rizzo about 10 techniques used on Abu Zubaydah. In short, Bybee lays out the questions from Rizzo, describes the 10 techniques, and then decides that none of them constitutes torture. If the subject weren’t so tragic, parts of the memo would be hilarious. Lucky for them that no judge had to decide whether the memo was an accurate statement of the law.

Whoops, the author is now a federal judge.
Continue Reading »

by Pete Talbot

Not really. But Ward 3 Councilman Bob Jaffe employed his wry wit to kick off a serious discussion of Missoula’s marijuana laws.

This morning we started the day at 8:00 am with alcohol and marijuana. First we approved the purchase of a bunch of field sobriety kits, motorcycle and in-car video camera systems, and funding for the underage drinking prevention program … “

Jaffe then went on to explain that Initiative 2, which was passed by Missoula voters in 2006 and was meant to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a low priority for law enforcement, didn’t affect city (or university) police.

And he gave a well-reasoned explanation as to why this initiative should also apply to city law enforcement. First, his entire comment is below the fold. Second, at the end of his comment, he has a cool map you can click on that shows how Missoula’s precincts voted on this initiative. Third, and I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, if you’re interested in Missoula politics, you have to subscribe to this site (which covers city council committee meetings and other city business).

Continue Reading »

Montana massacre

by Pete Talbot

“Ripped from today’s headlines,” as they like to say on those television teases for Law and Order.

I was cruising Left in the West when one of the ads on its home page caught my attention. I always thought I was immune to website advertising but I guess those ads really do work.

Anyway, the headline said, “Massacre in Montana,” so I had to click on it. Turns out it was a promo for a recently published book. The ad had a slick little trailer, too, that looked like a real TV news story.

The book is about a group of terrorists who take over an exclusive ski resort named the ‘Jefferson Club’ (gosh, I wonder where the author got the idea for that) and then hold AIG/Bernie Madoff-type executives hostage.

Not sure who the bad guys are. Guess I’ll have to buy the book.

by jhwygirl

SB505 and HB575 are both bad water bills that tromp on the property rights of senior water right holders.

HB575 had its second reading on the Senate floor today, and unfortunately, after a prolonged and impassioned debate – and one defeated amendment – was approved with a 30 – 20 vote.

Read that vote carefully – because each “yes” vote on that list knew that their “yes” vote was a vote that cast aside senior water rights – knew that their “yes” vote was a vote that ignored property rights.

This is Montana folks! If property rights don’t mean anything up there in the Senate, then we got problems!

It creates a temporary permit for coal bed methane water (which pumps out groundwater at 12-gallons-per-minute and more than 17,000 gallons-per day). Even in closed or controlled basins. $500 bucks, no questions asked.

One inane argument in support of the bill that was heard repeatedly in the committee hearings was repeated on the floor: It’s already up out of the ground – whether you approve this or not, it’s still going to be out of the ground.

Man, these Einsteins are woefully misinformed. Or uninformed

See – the point of this legislation was to try and circumvent a recent Supreme Court ruling, adverse to the state, due to the state having ignored the water permitting process necessary to appropriate ground water.

The point is that it shouldn’t come out of the ground without a permit. To suggest that without this bill, that water is still going to come up out of the ground is false.

You gotta really really worry about a bill that is trying to give coal bed methane operators a free pass that already has in it a law that says “Compensation made to a landowner or a water right holder under this section may not exceed 75% of the cost of the damages. The maximum amount paid to a landowner or water right holder may not exceed $50,000 $150,000.”

Another inane argument in support of the bill goes something like this: The people who are against this don’t even live near these things – these people are a hundred miles away. They just don’t want to see any development (their emphasis, not mine).

Now – this argument ignores two facts – (one) that those people “a hundred miles away” that are complaining have no stake in the matter. First of all, “those people” know coal bed methane drilling is coming their way. Two – make a law impinging on senior water rights, and I suggest that if I live in Missoula or Kalispell or Libby I have a right to complain about it. Having a permit, frankly, gives you standing as a senior water rights holder – these coal bed methane guys? They got nothing.

The other idiocy behind that argument – the “they just don’t want to see any development” argument – is that what this means – if these idiots mean what they say, and my own personal assessment is that they do believe what they say – is that it is OK, in the pursuit of “development” to tromp on private property rights.

Let me repeat: Their justification for voting “yes” is that it is OK, in the name of “development” to ignore property rights.

Read that list carefully. And consider contacting those legishlators that voted “yes” and let them know that they are ignoring property rights.

Democrat Jim Keane, of Butte, is on that list.

Republican Roy Brown is on that list.

Democrat Kim Gillan is on that list.

Democrat Ken (Kim) Hansen is on that list.

Democrat Jesse Laslovich, of Butte, is on that list.

Republican Dave Lewis, of Helena, is on that list.

Republican Gary Perry is on that list – Gary’s had some good bills this session.

There is one final floor vote tomorrow. Don’t let a coal bed methane water welfare bill go without a fight.

You can also call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for as many as five legislators per call. Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462.

tantrum-1

by problembear

the “t” party is being touted as a huge success by the wealthy right wing organizers who are hoping to avoid complete banishment to a permanent state of irrelevance in the changes sweeping accross america. these changes endanger the wealthy who have been pampered  and allowed to ransack our country with impuinity for the past eight years….

none of us likes the current situation, but adults must step in and take care of the economy. fortunately, we finally have someone in the white house and a majority in congress with the maturity to tackle the problems brought upon the american economy for too many years with unregulated greed by spoiled wealthy corporations and individuals. it is refreshing to see that congress and the president seem to be focused on doing the right thing for the middle class workers of america rather than pandering to these toddlers.

we heard you. now take a time out while responsible adults try to fix what that little brat bush and his playmate cheney left us….

by jhwygirl

HB2, the general appropriations bill, is back on the House floor for vote Thursday.

Will the evenly split House concur the amendments added in the Senate – including the cutting of CHIP by 15,000 kids?

House Democrats, headed up by Speaker Bob Bergren of Havre, have promised to reject the amendments, so tomorrow’s vote could take quite a while.

Apparently, according to Montana Republicans up there in Helena, we voters don’t know what we approved.

Missoula’s Representative Bill Nooney might want to reconsider his previous “No” vote on this matter back earlier in the session when he called the funding of children’s health care “socialized medicine”. Because while Missoula County voters approved I-155 overwhelmingly – with 76.6% majority, Nooney only won his election with 53% of the vote.

Why would Nooney ignore those numbers? Will he ignore those numbers…because the numbers, after all, are really voters.

My suggestion, people – give Rep. Bill Nooney a call or shoot him an email and let him know that Missoulian’s voted for CHIP – it’s his job to make sure it is funded like we voted it. Do it now. Tonight. First thing in the morning. During your lunch.

House floor hearing starts at 1 p.m., Thursday.

Nooney’s phone number and email are listed here on his state legislative webpage.

by jhwygirl

Via Councilman Bob Jaffe’s listserve, a letter from Roger Millar, Director of the Office of Planning & Grants, to City Council:

A concerned citizen provided us with a copy of a petition being circulated in the community by an anonymous group to protest the proposed new zoning code. The flyer that accompanies these petitions employs misleading statements about the proposal. Duncan Associates and Office of Planning and Grants staff have prepared the attached fact sheet to provide clarity. I thought this information would be useful to you as you discuss the zoning code rewrite with your constituents.

Please let me know if you would like additional detail.

Isn’t this sort of political activity regulated?

Pretty darn sure it is

People might want to be saving emails…and some motivated person might want to get after filing a complaint with Montana’s Commission of Political Practices – since by the time he gets to it, it might be another 2+ years or more.

The pro-Walmart/Walmart group in Ravalli county that successfully beat an emergency interim zoning ordinance that prohibited big-box stores? Complaints filed during the 2006 election were decided by Dennis Unsworth in January 2009.

In fact, the Commission of Political Practice’s docket has got a whole bunch of 2006 complaints on it that are either still under investigation or pending hearing.

by jhwygirl

I read this, and I can only hope that Governor Schweitzer was misquoted…because, certainly, we can do both protect the environment (and comply with Montana Constitutional requirements) while generating revenues off of state land.

Right?

Maybe we should all head up to Helena one day to toss some coal fly ash around.




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