by jhwygirl

The latest meme from our bloviating Governor Brian Schweitzer is that the Canadian tar sands – slated for expansion – are (get this) “conflict free”:

“I would say this is conflict-free oil and I don’t want to send one more son or daughter from Montana to defend an oil supply from one of these dictators and become dependent on that energy supply,” he said in an interview with the Canadian Press from his office in Helena.


There are Canadiansordinary citizens, doctors and Fort Chipewyan tribal members – that would disagree with you.

Does the fact that they don’t have bombs and guns make it conflict free? Because I don’t agree with that. I know I’m not the only one.

Hypocrisy and ignorance barely begins to describe the irony behind Schweitzer’s comments to the Canadian press this past week. Governor Schweitzer is a guy who doesn’t want to see the Flathead mined, yet approved a coal mine next to a Class 1 air shed (tromping on Crow tribal rights) and an alluvial floodplain right in Montana’s Tongue River valley.

Governor Schweitzer is a guy – born in Montana – who doesn’t seem to know his history, or even the higher cancer rates we saw right here in the upper Clark Fork basin because of the rape and pillage by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company (think Atlas Shrugs by Ayn Rand) that polluted everything near it from Butte to Missoula and beyond.

Schweitzer’s comments were made all the more pornographic given they occurred 30 years from when corporate irresponsibility suffocated Anaconda Montana.

Maybe The Brian should read Anaconda native Patrick Duganz’s words?

If they aren’t enough to expose him to the conflict of corporate irresponsibility, perhaps he should try and learn the lessons so many others haven’t forgotten of the dirty filth that mining has layed upon our lands.

Schweitzer sure is oblivious to this stuff isn’t he – and consider he’s got 130 million or so dollars of Natural Resource Damage Protection Program funds to spend to try and buy back lands to mitigate that environmental disaster thrust upon our state 100 years ago.

Maybe he forgot where that money came from?

Schweitzer is spouting off his newest talking point of “conflict free” as pressure mounts, nationwide, to stop the transport of the Korean-built Kearl modules up and over the Montana-Idaho border, adjacent to the Clearwater and Lochsa River, adjacent to Lolo Creek…through Missoula and next to the Blackfoot A-River-Runs-Through-It River, then up and over another mountain pass and on to the tar sands in Alberta.

Movie director and producer James Cameron? This Montanan thanks you.

Our Governor feigns to respect tribal peoples – yet the Nez Pierce, over who’s native lands these modules will travel – have objected to the modules.

Scientific journals are confirming high levels of carcinogens, mutagens, and teratogens such as mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium being thrust upon the native peoples of Canada. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America has published a paper explaining the pornography of the situation.

Discover Magazine has a pedestrian-friendly article on the issue.

Governor Schweitzer? You call yourself a scientist, don’t you? If cancer was reigning down in your watershed, would you call that “conflict free”?

Did Montana call that conflict free when it happened here?

  1. there is no reason that montana cannot develop the best health care insurance program for its businesses and its citizens. if we do, the businesses which will be attracted to our state will make this oil sand boondoggle look like peanuts.

    montanans really admired gov schweitzer for bussing seniors up to canada for cheaper prescriptions, back in his early campaign days. montana needs to forget about chasing short-term benefit out of state fossil projects and develop jobs in our state by doing the right thing for the businesses and people who work here now. if we build a decent health care system in montana, not only will the businesses come, but they will bring much needed jobs that our future can be built on. oil and coal are finite. but good ideas build infinitely many good business opportunities.

    every ceo and executive director in the country is sick of chasing down affordable and dependable health insurance for their workers. this is our opportunity to do something brazen and bold, much like gov schweitzer did with the prescription bus rides. the people of montana can build something unique with decent health care and we can do it with a citizens initiative starting in 2012.

  2. The Polish Wolf

    Yes, I would call that ‘conflict free’, because you and I both know what he means by conflict. He’s piggybacking off the language used to describe diamonds that only damage the environment and health of the miners without being accompanied by actual warfare.

    Not to defend the tar sands, mind you. But what he’s saying is technically true – they are a source of energy you don’t have to fight for. He didn’t call it ‘suffering free’ energy, which ought to be our long-term goal.

  3. Brian just says things–especially to Canadians (Recall his “I’m governor of Montana, not governor of Canada” quote concerning the only Canadian on death row in the entire world: Montana inmate Ronald Smith).

    This also plays into his CoalCowboy persona that he hasn’t got to pimp on any talkshows lately.

  4. Ingemar Johansson

    From your link.

    “It is questionable whether the intensity and rate at which contamination is occurring has even been studied with respect to health and environmental toxins affecting humans from the huge oil sands development. “There is clearly an unresolved health issue in the community of Fort Chipewyan. The cause is unknown and requires action.” Fort Chipewyan is an Aboriginal community of approximately 1,200 people who live in the southwest corner of Lake Athabasca just 300 kilometers north of Fort McMurray. There has been a high rate of a “rare and lethal” liver cancer there.”

    I’m no scientist but rather than blaming the water maybe someone should study the effects of alcohol combined household cleaning products.

  5. Feminista

    I would agree. I would rather have our natural resource use, and I guess we’re all using it as we’re using computers, come from a country with child labor laws and that didn’t treat women like property, if I had to pick anyway.

    • I think it’s funny that my previous post, Montana’s Sarah Palin, comes up as “possibly related”.

      About as funny as you calling yourself a feminist.

      What kind of feminist thinks it’s OK to look the other way to human-facilitated carcinogenics reigned down upon whole communities? Communities with women and children?

      Conflict-free so long as it isn’t bombs and guns coming down on you? Your homeland?

      So America should search out it’s cheap oil however it chooses, ethics be damned.

      No different than the invasion of Iraq, IMNSHO.

  6. The Polish Wolf

    Your point is valid, Feminista. Until we stop using fossil fuels, we do have to get them from somewhere, and that somewhere will pollute. Now, I can’t think of a country I trust more with the delicate necessary evil of extracting oil than Norway, but if you asked me for a close second it would be Canada, normally.

    However, tar sands are an exceptionally dirty way to get that energy, even by fossil fuel standards. Canadians ought to address whether its really worth it. But it’s up to the Canadian government to listen to its own people, not ours.

    • I disagree. Her point is not valid, especially in the context of this post.

      Read the title.

      There’s nothing in this post that says we should eliminate all fossil fuels. That fossil fuels are evil.

      The Polish Wolf? Schweitzer’s comments were made in the context of criticism of his support of moving Korean-built tar sands production modules across Montana.

      You gotta put everything in context, including the context of the post. Montana would be facilitating that dirty cancer-causing extraction up there in Canada.

      There may be some validity to saying that it is the job of the Canadian government, but I can’t buy into that completely. Nations across the world do terrible things to their people, and we U.S. citizen voice our concerns….hell – here you are agreeing with Feminista’s point, and she’s voicing concern over the abuse of women and children in the Middle East.

      Someone has to speak out when injustices occur. Borders should not stop that legitimate action. China? WWII and the Holocaust? Darfur?

  7. many are beginning to wonder why these modules built in south korea needed to be built there at all – here’s the latest in tomorrows missoulian……

  8. Pogo Possum

    Looks like we will have to boycott wind energy from Judith Gap……..Their wind blades came from Brazil, a lot of their components came from Europe and Japan and the towers not built in the US came from (who would have quessed) China and Korea.

    I don’t remember the enviros lining up to protest wind energy or the trucking of the 260 foot long (almost a football field) 36 ton blades on state highways .

    “. . . The blades come from Brazil, various other components come from Europe and Japan and the towers that didn’t come from Fargo, N.D. — via a circuitous route that took them hundreds of miles out of the way — were shipped from China and Korea.”

    • JC

      You’re not looking at this in the right way. If we had a proper set of incentives/disincentives, we could produce both the equipment and the energy here in Montana.

      Of course, I realize the Chamber of Commerce supports outsourcing manufacturing to developing countries, because it results in higher corporate profits. If we were to change the equation around, so that it was more profitable for the equipment to be produced stateside, then the CoC would support that.

      And chattering about protesting wind energy vs. oil tar sands oil just points to your ignorance about why the Alberta oil sands projects are being protested. The massive amount of equipment that would have to be transported through western Montana is just one issue. Of far greater concern to most enviros, though is the fact that the tar sands projects are becoming the world’s largest industrial project, complete with water and habitat degradation, and cultural disruption and human health issues–impacts that wind projects just don’t have.

      America has the opportunity to lead in alternative energy development. Instead we’re being led down a path that bolsters the economies of places like China, Brazil and South Korea, instead of putting our industrial capacity to work building the next generation of energy production.

    • my link makes no mention of “enviros” pogo. the quoted steel worker union leader from alberta is hardly an enviro. he is interested in keeping jobs in north america for projects in north america. i share his view.

      there may very well be many environmental issues which should be looked at more closely regarding the project that these modules are are designed and built for, but my main concern is the waffling tone of the corporate-speak which seeks to explain why a company which desires to mine a resource in north america would choose to go half way around the world to build and transport equipment which could just as easily have been built close to the project with canadian labor. it is a valid question and a question which i would like answered before giving my ok to choke up our highways with oversized and overweight loads.

      ps windmill blades don’t weigh very much and they can pass beneath DOT height freeway bridges. so the two types of equipment are hardly comparable either in terms of the amount of damage done to road surfaces nor in the problem of necessitating the use of two lane highways which will probably see much damage from 200 of these loads compared to lighter loads on freeways.

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