Archive for April 15th, 2009

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.


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.


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

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