Water and Coal and Conflicting Sentiments from a Missoula City Council Person
Missoula’s city council voted 10-2 last night to give Mayor Engen the authority to enter into negotiations with the Carlyle Group for the opportunity to purchase what should never have been sold in the first place—our water. I am cautiously optimistic the Mayor can pull it off.
Dick Haines and Adam Hertz were the two dissenting votes, and the reasoning Hertz gave was a bit odd. From the link:
Councilman Hertz, who opposed the ordinance, said he felt like he was being asked to base his decision on feelings instead of figures. He wanted more details about a variety of the related costs before voting on a measure that might lead the city down a costly road of condemnation.
“I’d like to make a decision based on facts, and I haven’t seen any financial projections whatsoever come out of the administration,” Hertz said.
The reason I find this reasoning odd is the juxtaposition to Hertz’s shaming campaign against liberals regarding coal development on the Crow Reservation.
On October 18th, Hertz tweeted this:
Many liberals take pride in supporting tribes. Support the Crow tribe. Don’t block their coal-paved path away from 50% unemployment. #MTPol
Gideon Jones tweeted back several replies, including these:
@AdamHertzMT Several decades of coal mining on AZ, UT and NM reservations didn’t alleviate poverty there. #MTpol
@AdamHertzMT Coal mining did however destroy their aquifers, agriculture, and health. #MTpol
@AdamHertzMT No one buys this selective right wing ‘concern’ for the tribes. Transparent and disingenuous. #MTpol
Hertz’s response? This:
@GideonTJones I’m from the Flathead Indian Reservation. I genuinely care about the tribes. They’ll succeed through opportunity, not subsidy.
As I had suspected, the liberals are up in arms about the Crow people asking them to stay out of their business and stop blocking progress.
One of the problems with Hertz’s last statement is the idea that coal production is only the business of the Crow people. It’s not. It’s also the business of those who live along the transportation infrastructure that will carry the coal to the proposed port, and it’s the business of all us silly humans who breath air in order to live.
In China, where much of this coal will end up, a city of 11 million people was essentially shutdown Monday due to smog:
Choking smog all but shut down one of northeastern China’s largest cities on Monday, forcing schools to suspended classes, snarling traffic and closing the airport, in the country’s first major air pollution crisis of the winter.
An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts of Harbin, the gritty capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province and home to some 11 million people.
A level above 300 is considered hazardous, while the World Health Organisation recommends a daily level of no more than 20.
The smog not only forced all primary and middle schools to suspend classes, but shut the airport and some public bus routes, the official Xinhua news agency reported, blaming the emergency on the first day of the heating being turned on in the city for winter. Visibility was reportedly reduced to 10 meters.
Go to the Reuters piece for pictures of what this pollution crisis looks like.
Darrin Old Coyote makes his case for the tribe in this op-ed. Here is a small excerpt:
Opportunities for job creation and investment in Montana’s Indian Country are frustratingly scarce. Today, the Crow Tribe has a rare window of opportunity before it, and we are doing everything in our power to take advantage of it before that window closes.
What is this “window of opportunity” and why is there a need to rush this project through? Well, because Montanans may be inclined to support the expansion of an EIS (environmental impact statement) that could slow down the transportation and export of Crow coal:
But this opportunity depends, in part, on the construction of new export facilities on the West Coast. Asking the Army Corps to expand the EIS will certainly delay, and could possibly prevent, the construction of the Millennium port.
Requesting that the scope of this EIS look at environmental impacts in Montana is an unprecedented move and outside the bounds of what most of us think should be included in an environmental review for a coastal port.
For our plans to create jobs and bring new investment to succeed, we must do all we can to see that the construction of new coal export facilities is not impeded unreasonably. I would respectfully request that you at least remain neutral on this issue and not encourage an EIS process that would obstruct important economic opportunities for the Crow Tribe and the state of Montana.
For those who understand the challenges humans will continue to face because of climate change, remaining neutral isn’t an option. More information about the potential environmental impacts should be welcomed by someone who claims to want facts and not emotion to inform his decision.