The Billings Outpost

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Help stop organ harvesting

The story, almost too dreadful to believe, was first revealed in 2006 when a woman claimed that as many as 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners had been killed for their organs at the hospital where she worked. Her husband was a surgeon and disclosed to her that he removed corneas from the living bodies of 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners. (Falun Dafa is a traditional Chinese self-improvement practice of mental and physical wellness through meditation and gentle exercises.)

In response, congressional resolution HR 281 was recently introduced by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Congressman Robert Andrews, D-N.J. The resolution expresses concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their beliefs, as well as numbers of other religious and ethnic minority groups.

Because killing of religious or political prisoners for their organs is an egregious crime, I ask Montana readers to contact our congressman to urge him to co-sponsor this resolution. The resolution is an important step to help put an end to this atrocity.

The resolution will also help our country’s doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and universities make informed decisions and take a righteous stance regarding illicit organ transportation, and stand up and speak for those without a voice. (For more information about Falun Gong and the on-going persecution, please visit

Katherine Combes


Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 09:13

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Why oppose Obamacare?

Most of the summer we have heard about the upcoming deadline for “Obamacare.” One of the complaints was about people in the age group of 20-55 who don’t have health insurance and have e good health. I once heard someone say they got pregnant to get a return on their insurance investment.

I have been in that age group, good health, an occasional toothache and some eye exams. Although dental and vision were not on many insurance plans for years, they were the one thing people need. For people working minimum wage or low income, housing, utilities and transportation consume most of their income. Insurance has always been a luxury.

My understanding is Obamacare will force people or their employers of this age group to buy insurance. So if you go 20-25 years paying into insurance pools with no claims, where does all that money go? The insurance companies reinvest that money until a claim needs to be paid.

Of course, it covers their employees, building and supplies. Yet, a lot of that money goes to Wall Street. Now force a few million people to buy insurance who will not likely have a claim for several years. How much money will hit Wall Street?

My question is: “Why would the Republicans be opposed to such a plan?” Taking money from the poor and giving to the rich. Maybe it is because they did not come up with the plan.

Lauris Byxbe

Pompeys Pillar

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 September 2013 11:34

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Who benefits from coal?

Arch Coal, one of the biggest and richest coal companies in the world, is currently seeking a permit to rip up a pristine agricultural valley in southeastern Montana to mine the coal underneath and sell it to China.

Coal markets in the United States are disappearing. Corporations looking for a fast buck are trying to ram through proposals to open the Otter Creek strip mine and expand ports in the Northwest so the coal can be shipped on rail line through Montana, Washington and Oregon.

Montana has little to gain from Arch Coal’s venture. Montana would lose a treasure. The Otter Creek Valley is one of the last undeveloped places in the state. Irreparable harm would come to the Valley if the mine and accompanied Tongue River railroad were brought to fruition.

Who would gain from these schemes? Arch Coal would get the profits. China would get the coal. Montana would only get the impacts.

David Steinmuller

Gallatin Gateway

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 September 2013 11:33

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Walking safely in county

It isn’t safe to walk Yellowstone County roads in peace anymore. On the morning of July 3, I was attacked by a pit bull while strolling close to home on Danford Road while the dog’s owner simply watched.

The dog lurched for my face and neck, and continued to attack me into the middle of the westbound lane with the owner still watching. I sustained injuries to my arm that have required emergency as well as orthopedic surgeon attention. In the emergency room my doctor stated that last week she had stitched up a 6-year-old’s face from another pit bull attack.

We have a serious problem with the animal control laws in Yellowstone County. I find my rights are severely limited. The law limits Animal Control’s ability to impound a vicious dog in the county unless it has rabies or kills someone. I am also presently not allowed access to the dog’s owner’s name or to have any input to the judge at the owner’s court appearance for the citation.

As I share my story with friends, they reply with similar stories of personal encounters with dangerous pit bulls. Who has the right to walk freely down Yellowstone County roads? It seems as if the pit bulls do. By allowing this type of irresponsible pet ownership, we are setting ourselves up for serious trouble ahead.

Shelley Gerard Bailey



Last Updated on Thursday, 29 August 2013 10:10

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Concerned about Otter Creek

Montanans are concerned about the proposed Otter Creek coal mine. Though I now live in Billings, I grew up in Anaconda, and like many Montanans, I know what it’s like when the government fails to fully plan for the lasting impacts of mining, fails to fully protect our communities, and fails to preserve the natural beauty of Montana — one of our most precious resources. Otter Creek is a sensitive area because the coal seam is a vital aquifer for the area.

Coal strip mines sever and destroy such aquifers, resulting in impacts miles away from these mines; they dry up wells and springs, many of which are important sources of water for livestock and are critical to maintaining a diversity of natural plants and wildlife. Given that other mining operations have failed to restore the coal-seam aquifers disturbed by mining, and the vast majority of Montana mines have never been able to achieve full reclamation, the thought of a new, enormous mine is deeply troubling.

How will the DEQ protect and preserve the natural beauty and agricultural enterprises which the strip mine and aquifer disturbance threaten? Montanans need to speak up about the Otter Creek coal mine permit — currently incomplete — and hold our government accountable for its duty to protect our natural lands, our state’s farming and ranching heritage, and our local communities — which would be impacted by pollution, water drawdowns, reduced tourism and recreation, and increased train traffic.

Montanans shouldn’t have to pay for the mess mines leave behind.

Joy Barber



Last Updated on Thursday, 29 August 2013 10:10

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Beware of Otter Creek

At a time when the United States desperately needs to develop clean alternative fuels, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality is fast-tracking the permitting process for Arch Coal’s Otter Creek Mine.

Not only would the mine development seriously damage agricultural land and water quality, it would be a catalyst for building the Tongue River Railroad, which would transport coal in open boxes to the west coast for export to China.

Air pollution from coal dust is a terrible health hazard. Regulations for containing the dust are not consistently enforced. This mine and railroad threaten to drastically worsen the clean, healthful environment that we want for ourselves and our families in Montana.

Please take a few minutes to contact the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and ask for a very thorough and complete review of all costs and environmental consequences of the Otter Creek Mine and the Tongue River Railroad.

Judy Staigmiller



Last Updated on Thursday, 29 August 2013 10:09

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