Montana GOP Leaders Support Federal Condemnation for Otter Creek Coal

by jhwygirl

That’s really what they’re saying when they they send a letter to the Land Board telling them to support leasing the Otter Creek tracts.

As Wally McRae, a rancher who will be on the receiving end of such eminent domain condemnation proceedings has said:

“If you vote in favor of leasing the Otter Creek coal, come say to me, face to face, that you don’t mind if the Tongue River Railroad, a for-profit corporation, condemns my land under federal eminent domain.”

And – just to be clear here – if Montana’s state Land Board votes in favor of the coal leases, they, too – the state’s 5 highest elected officials, all Democrats – will be sending an “all clear” message to Montana’s citizens – and the federal courts – that condemnation of private property in the name of a private entity (isn’t this sounding strangely like Kelo v. City of New London Connecticut?) is OK, and we support it. Because that coal has no access right now…and it is a public entity approving that lease.

And landowners around Montana – and ranchers around the state who own land interspersed with state trust land – will then wonder how well Democrats in this state will protect their private property rights when a private entity like Great Northern Coal comes a-knockin’.

  1. Big Swede

    I wonder if Wally McRae would support Hewey Lewis and his property rights on Mitchell Slough.

    • So you believe that Montana’s rivers are privately owned? Seriously – I’m asking.

      • Big Swede

        I believe navigable rivers are the property of the collective.

        The MS wouldn’t be navigable without manmade irrigation headgates. Shut down or reduce the flow of water would render it back to a lowland swamp.

        I own a farm on the Big Horn which is watered by Two Leggins Ditch Co. The ditch is 50 mile long and deep enough to float several logs.

        Does that mean fishermen and hunters can roam its length thru 50 private farms and ranches?

        • The evidence showed – on original government land office maps – that the MS was actually the “St. Mary’s branch of the Bitterroot River”.

          The irrigation headgates you speak of serve not only to control water into the “St. Mary’s branch of the Bitterroot River”/Mitchell Slough, the headgates serve to restrict flows during high water to protect all the homes (like Huey’s and Schwab’s) from flooding.

          Should fisherman and hunters roam through your ditch? Assuming it is a ditch, and not a branch of the Big Horn River, I’d say “nope,” that fisherman and hunters shouldn’t be roaming through your ranch.

          • Big Swede

            Geological evidence can place the Big Horn River miles from where it exists today.

            I’m not positive, but I’m betting that the Bitterroot was trending away from Lewis’s property, man made improvements kept it in existence.

  2. Well. the important thing is that we have Democrats in office.

  1. 1 Will Otter Creek Coal Become More Corporate Welfare? « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] this previous post, titled Montana GOP leaders support federal condemnation for Otter Creek, I explained how the railroad will require condemnation (i.e., eminent domain takings) of private […]

  2. 2 Otter Naught « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] will also need to be condemned through Montana’s eminent domain laws – that’s condemnation of private land in the interest of a private corporate entity, folks – a railroad that will save that private […]

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