By STATE SEN. ED WALKER
Take a good, long look at your latest electricity bill, because there’s a very good chance it could be skyrocketing in the near future.
The culprit is a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation called the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (UMACT) rule. On paper it’s supposed to control mercury and a host of other emissions from coal-based power plants.
In reality it sets a standard that many plants can’t possibly meet by the 2015 deadline, forcing them to shut down and forcing your electricity bills to go up.
Why would EPA impose this economically hazardous rule? Because it never bothered to examine its cost in the first place.
Last Updated on Friday, 22 June 2012 15:29
I just returned from Seattle after being Grandpa for six weeks. Seattle is a laid-back place: progressive, friendly, multi-ethnic, tolerant, green, open minded and in love with specialty coffee.
So you can see how I needed to get back in touch with the real America. I read some letters to the editor and watched some Fox News. I wanted to get a pulse on what was going on without being bothered by too many facts. I read about the counter revolution against Obama and all his non-patriotic, foreign-loving, socialist, leftist cohorts. It was just terrible what had been happening, with them trying to solve all these problems with solutions.
I went straight to my good friend Jim. Jim is a good solid conservative American patriot. Why, Jim’s so far right he couldn’t see the political center with a telescope. I knew he would have the straight story.
“Yep,” he said. We’re going to take back America from those *@!!*.
“Are you going to seek bipartisan solutions,” I asked?
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 June 2012 20:38
In this election cycle, as in all election cycles, there are many below-the-radar races. Some candidates struggle without hope to get the press to cover their races so people will share in their enthusiasm for the importance of being the one to govern/protect/represent you. Others struggle as hard to make sure that no question will get a direct answer.
Such is the case with Supreme Court justice races. Quick, pick the trifecta for the three candidates hoping to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice James Nelson.
I feel your pain: attorney Elizabeth Best, District Judge Laura McKinnon and attorney Ed Sheehy. Candidate Best has the most visible campaign with yard signs proclaiming she is Best For Montana. Get it? Sheehy uses billboards to promise “Justice” in letters 15 feet tall. McKinnon is the stealth candidate relying on a few mass mailings.
How is a mortal voter to decide for whom to vote? Seems almost a conspiracy of silence but despair not. I am here to shine the Light of Truth on these, “The Unknown Campaigners.”
Actually much can be gleaned about these candidates sworn to silence by the judicial canons. Recent financial reports show that Best for Montana had raised $72,000 in large part from high profile attorneys who hope to practice before her, environmentalists who hope to have her rule favorably on their suits against industry, and members of similar PACs. Ms. Best loaned her campaign $18,000. Larger than life Sheehy raised $7,600 but most came from himself. He’s toast.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 09:33
The Bakken Formation’s oil reserves have created a boom in Eastern Montana, western North Dakota and southern Saskatchewan. Improved methods of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of subterranean rock formations to release trapped oil have helped this area experience an oil boom resulting in a multitude of benefits and their corresponding problems.
“The … sudden boom has reduced unemployment and given the state of North Dakota a billion-dollar budget surplus. But the industrialization and population boom has also put a strain on water supplies, sewage systems, and government services of the small towns and ranches in the area” (en.wikipedia.org).
Lessons from history and literature are stubbornly resisted when the seductive promise of wealth presents itself. Just as Shakespeare’s Macbeth succumbs to the expectation of power, so small-town Montana demonstrates its willingness to sacrifice its very soul for the possibility of prosperity.
Money is power and power is seductive. Poor communities in Eastern Montana are easily seduced by the potential power their resources provide.
Roundup, a town that has gone through several boom-and-bust cycles, once again believes itself poised at the brink of prosperity. However, only a few years ago Roundup was similarly positioned when the Signal Peak Coal Mine began production.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 09:27
By Watty Taylor
Montana Stockgrowers Association president
As the state begins serious discussions about the potential of establishing a “free roaming” herd of bison in Montana, there seems to be a lot of disparity in opinions. Some would like to see us return to the time when bison roamed the plains without the annoyances of modern towns, farms and ranches, or a web of highways and railroads. Others can see only conflicts with establishing a herd of “wild” bison in the state. It’s quite the debate. Our question is: have Montanans expressed a true desire to see more bison, or is the pressure coming from outside our state? We do not know of any area in Montana where the local community is clamoring for a truly free roaming bison herd.
Montana is already home to many significant bison herds. There’s the herd at the National Bison Range in Moiese, the wild bison in Yellowstone National Park, and many other private herds that are raised both for conservation purposes and for agricultural purposes. Why do we need to establish another herd, let alone a free roaming one? Is it about preserving genetics of wild bison? Preservation is already happening. People and groups all across the West have been working to preserve the genetic integrity of bison. If genetics is not the issue, then what is? Hunting? There are bison hunting opportunities here in Montana both privately and publicly near Yellowstone National Park. There are also other great opportunities in states like Utah. Is there really that much interest in more hunting opportunities for bison?
Some of the outside interests pushing the hardest for a free roaming bison herd say that because of Montana’s proud wildlife heritage, we should restore bison in a free roaming capacity “just because.” Ranchers certainly understand the importance of protecting Montana’s wildlife heritage. In fact, ranchers work hard to steward the private and public lands that provide the majority of habitat for wildlife in our state. Bison are being conserved in Montana and throughout the West, so the question we should be asking is what benefit will another herd really provide? Or perhaps more importantly: what impact will these animals have on our working lands in Montana that provide the foundation of our economy as well as our beautiful scenery and important wildlife habitat?
Restoring wildlife just for the sake of doing it isn’t a good enough reason to move ahead with this effort. Montanans have seen the problems associated with wolf reintroduction and the effects it has had on other wildlife species and on our working lands. It is the private landowners and local communities who typically shoulder the burden when it comes to these efforts. Bison are already being conserved in a responsible manner that takes into consideration genetic diversity, hunting opportunities and the realities of our modern day infrastructure as a state. Let us not allow outside interests to come into our state, dictate what happens here and then leave us high and dry with an unnecessary mess, and bill, to deal with.
Last Updated on Saturday, 26 May 2012 15:44