Canadian Premier Championing Montana as a “Test Site” for Carbon Sequestration

by jhwygirl

Canadian Premier Brad Wall attended the super-secret meeting in Big Sky, MT of select Democratic Governors (invited at the behest of our beloved Governor Schweitzer, president of the Democratic Governor’s Association) to tout his so-hopeful $60 million partnership in experimentation on the myth of carbon sequestration and the potential affects on our state’s water quality.

Just joking – the Canadian Premier didn’t address those potential affects on our state’s water….he only wants to ship his CO2 down here for us to store it.

I mean – why would Canada care about our water? Why would they care if it works or if it’s safe? They got $60 million and the stuff has to go somewhere – why not dump it over the border, especially if Montana’s willing to be a test site for something that we’re just going to bury in the ground and hope it all works out OK.

The legislature now has two bills floating around in hopes of facilitating this literal CO2 pipe dream : HB338 which allows CO2 pipelines as common carries – translate that to mean that the state can condemn private property for these things – and HB498 which is the meat-and-potato bill that will establish laws regarding carbon sequestration, giving the Board of Oil & Gas regulatory authority and defining who owns the space where this stuff is stored. Button Valley Press has at least two posts on this issue – Captive Carbon? overviews both bills and give a reasonable person enough information to pause and realize that while it might sound all wonderful and fabulous, is it? Button Valley’s second post, CO2 Going To The Birds give that reasonable person even more scary information.

HB338 has passed both houses and is being prepared for transmittal to the Governor’s desk. SB498 had its hearing Monday in House Federal Relations, Energy, and Telecommunications and rumor has it that the committee is working on a pretty large number of amendments. Many wait and watch for these amendments – given that these indications are a heads-up that this is going to the floor, there will be no chance for public input on the amendments, yet alone much chance to let your House representation know whether you support them or not.

Shame, isn’t it?

Want to hear more about that super-secret, no-press-allowed meeting of 6 Democratic Governors (Montana, Maryland, Tennessee, Iowa, West Virginia and Washington), the Premier of Canada and Lord knows who else?

No taxpayer money was used for the meeting. That’s the justification for not allowing the press.

Who paid for this meeting in luxurious Big Sky where no taxpayer money was used?

Counsol Energy
First Energy Corporation
Peabody Energy
Cross Harbor Capital
The Yellowstone Club
Dennis R. Washington
Jim & Patty Dolan
Arch Coal
the Boich group
BNSF Railroad
Corrections Corp. of America

Coal companies, energy companies, companies that haul the stuff, private citizens – at least one – that make a fortune off of EPA and DEQ cleanup sites….and pharmaceutical companies that take care of the illnesses created by rape and pillage on the environment.

Lovely, huh?

NBC Montana did an investigative piece on this with Tueesday evening’s news…but I’m not finding any links to it on their website. Hopefully they’ll put something up in a day or two.


  1. klemz

    I’m sure Blago had some hand in it, too. You can’t keep a good doo down.

  2. Lizard

    with the economy going to shit, corporations know that any project that carries a whiff of job-creation, no matter how damaging, will be easier to push through.

    what, you don’t want canada to ram CO2 in our cherished ground? you must be against good paying jobs for Montanans then. just another enviro-obstructionist, aren’t you.

    seeing phizer and glaxosmithkline on that predicable roster of exploiters is disturbing. as is the secrecy. thanks j-girl.

  3. nobody wants to be painted as “against jobs” in this climate and the corporate beasts know this. they are sliding as many environmentally damaging agenda items as they can get away with while everyone is focused on our own survival.

    corporate lawyers never sleep. they have really worked hard to craft legislation that will handcuff montana’s constitutional right to clean water and air and these bills will haunt us forever if they are allowed to become law.

  4. JAYoung

    Wow! Schweitzer hosts a secret meeting to plan energy policy outside of public view… that’s right out of Dick Cheney’s play book.
    And looking at who paid for it, I’d say you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
    But since we Americans have transferred our national sacrifice area from the Rocky Mountain Front to northern Alberta, maybe we owe it to them to take the Canadian CO2.

    • petetalbot

      What’s Schweitzer thinking? For a guy who used to be so adept at managing the press, between the Stone-Smurfit secret meeting in Missoula and now this meeting at Big Sky, he’s really cutting the public out of the process. I hope those in the media will hold him accountable.

      • Ayn Rand

        Oh crap Lee Newspaper heir, where the heck were you when our own Blogo met secretly with Sterns. You and alphebet girl are just a shade selective.

        • petetalbot

          LOL, Ayn, “Lee Newspaper heir;” that and two dollars will get you a mocha latte — but then I guess you don’t follow the markets.

          And would you care to enlighten me about the “our own Blogo (sic) met secretly with Sterns” comment. I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

          • Ayn Rand

            Oh I’m sorry, I thought you kept up on what the Gov does from day to day. My bad. One of the reasons the leg leaders didn’t meet with the Gov( my opinion only) last month was how he treated Shiela Sterns a few weeks before in a meeting she thought would be populated by more than one. The story on the street is he lambasted her about higher education funding and spending problems. I’m told it wasn’t pretty and low and behold no press.

      • Matthew Koehler

        No doubt Pete! The Governor certainly got (Smurfit) Stoned!

        On Monday, Governor Brian Schweitzer emerged from a closed-door meeting at Smurfit-Stone’s Frenchtown mill, looked right into a video camera and declared, “If we can harvest 15,000 acres of the 2 million acres of dead and dying [trees] that we’ve got on federal land in Montana we can keep this mill open.” (see video clip @

        This is just the latest in a long-line of claims from the timber industry and some politicians that more public lands logging is the solution to the industry’s woes, despite the fact that demand for lumber, paper and packaging products is at historic lows and many mills simply cannot even sell the products they currently have on hand.

        A careful video viewer will also notice that the governor didn’t really seem comfortable making such a profound statement. I wonder why? Could it be because Schweitzer knows that right now on just the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests there are 15,000 acres worth of timber sales that are already through the environmental review process, with no appeals and litigation slowing them down, that could be logged anytime this summer? Could it be that the governor remembered mid-interview that the Forest Service recently identified $126 million worth of “shovel ready” fuel reduction work on National Forests in Montana and Idaho as part of the stimulus bill? Time will tell if the timber industry will even bid on any of these projects, or if taxpayers will be forced to give away public timber for next to nothing.

        What’s even more bizarre about Schweitzer’s claim is that Smurfit filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, not because the company couldn’t log an additional 15,000 acres of national forests in Montana, but because the economic downturn has greatly reduced demand for Smurfit’s products.

        To put Smurfit’s current financial situation in perspective, in 1998 a single share of Smurfit stock sold for $25.00 a share, today a share is worth three cents, a whopping 99.9% reduction in value. And let’s not forget that Smurfit is a large, multi-national corporation with 150 facilities in the US, Canada, Mexico and Asia. If you look at map of their facilities, it’s clear that only a small fraction are anywhere near national forests.

        To assume that Smurfit’s future success depends upon more logging from national forests is as much wishful thinking as it is irresponsible, especially in light of this tremendous economic crisis, which is so clearly rooted in over-consumption and over-development.

        Fact is, Smurfit is a large multi-national corporation that has expanded too much. They need a new business model truly based on sustainability, not more public lands logging to do more of the same.

  5. Ebineezur

    That’s really good question Jhwygirl… “Why would Canada care about our water?”

    The truth: they don’t.

    What you see if you compare the Canadian interests in the Milk River Basin with their hopes for the headwaters of the Flathead River Basin, you see they seem to care an awful lot about Montana’s water quantity… but not with its quality.

  6. TheKritik

    I’ve always wondered about the science of carbon sequestration like this. My layperson understanding tells me that there are cavernous layers beneath the ground (often where we took oil or natural gas) that can be filled with carbon. After the cavern is full, we put a lid on it. Is that about right?

    I thought it was a little too sci-fi to work, but if natural gas and oil were well contained there, why not CO2? Any scientists know the answer?

    As far as secret meetings go…boooooo… Another reason I’m glad I voted “not Schweitzer” in both elections. I just wish there were more options than Republicans and Libertarians. When is the socialist party going to gain strength in Montana? :-)

  7. i can say from second hand experience (bears know people) the pressure that gov schweitzer is putting on the universities is not having the desired effect on the top administrators who zealously guard their well endowed nests by ordering their middle managers to squeeze more blood out of the bottom rung service workers…way to go there brian. your battle with dennison et al is only hurting the poor workers who barely subsist as it is. thanks a lot.

    yeah, that’s what we wanted our democratically elected governor to do- stick a burr under the saddle of the top administrative elites so that they torture the workers on the bottom rung….way to go. meanwhile the same wasteful spending goes on unabated in the upper offices….

    talk about unintended consequences gone to seed.

  8. Charles

    Just “palin” around with the industry folks your good Dem Gov.
    Egomaniac. All talk and no results after so many years in office. Just look at the management mess at the DEQ, the delays in Libby, the lack of any action on alternative energy, the lack of Montana health care , etc etc.. He’s done NOTHING for any Democrat in Montana.
    The Bubble Gov I call him as he has benefited from the phony economy and is slowly going to pay for it politically. It’s just possible that by participating in these secret sessions with the Billionaires that he is setting himself up for life after office. Multinational corporate lobbyist, it’s what we train our former Governors to do.

    • i have my own problems with schweitzer, but he sure beats martz by about half a continent. and when you refer to marc racicot no slithering reptile has ever led anyone down the garden path like he did in selling out montana’s gold star utility and handing it over for slicing and dicing by goldman sachs…

      schweitzer has some mighty strange energy ideas of his own which raise questions about how to keep our state healthy to live in. but only a real worm like racicot would sell his soul to shill for insurance leeches…

      not excusing schweizer’s recent bad judgement…just keeping things in perspective charles.

  1. 1 The NY Times Doesn’t Have to Live With the Stuff Buried in Their Back Yard - Veto SB 498 « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Let’s take Canada’s carbon dioxide! […]

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