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Bugle Briefs 03-08-09

  • Well, it was a tough week for southern Montana. Bozeman blew up, Whitehall burned down and there was a 4.2 earthquake. Let’s hope that next week is a little less strenuous
  • Under the heading of “If you’ve got the money, honey”. Forrest Mars Jr. the candy magnate who owns the Diamond Cross Ranch near Birney got Jill Cohenour to put forth a bill (HB422) to tighten Montana’s eminent domain statute to make it easier for him to keep the coal-bed methane folks off his ranch. If you have $14 billion you are able to stop, or at least slow down the energy companies from destroying your land. The rest of us can only watch. Pinnacle Gas Resources wants to drill for methane under Mr. Mars’ ranch and he’s not happy. So far he has been able to use his fortune to keep them at bay. Energy rapers supporters are not happy. They thought everybody with money was on their side. Senator Keith Bales (R) of Otter, one of those pushing several ugly bills through the legislature to inhibit the public from slowing down energy development said, “I would hope that we do not allow rich out-of-state people who come in and buy land to be able to turn our legislative system completely upside down,”. Gee, it’s okay when outsiders want to build power plants, but it’s just plain wrong when they want to stop development. Pinnacle Resources has a net worth of about 1% of the Mars fortune so, some say he should just buy them out and close them down.
  • Last year, the coal industry added just two dirty power plants in the U. S. totaling about 1,400 megawatts of power output. The wind sector added about 3,800 megawatts. At least we are doing something right. Two dozen coal plants were scuttled last year, mostly because of the economic downturn, that would have added 82 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere. That equals 50 million cars and trucks. There are already 600 plants operating spewing out 2 billion tons of CO2 per year. ‘nough said.
  • Lots of stupid legislation is still moving through the Montana Legislature.
  • 4-hSB387, got a favorable hearing in the House Federal Relations Committee. This bill and it’s companion HB483 would make it virtually impossible for citizens to have any input on energy development in Montana. They would force a “Pay to Play” scenario for citizens, limit the scope of appeals and shorten the time frame in which you can file an appeal for DEQ permits.  SB440 passed the Senate and got it’s first reading in the House. This dandy piece of corporate welfare would allow the state to issue air quality permits virtually without environmental review.
  • HB455, The Big Sky Rivers Act, seeks to set common sense streamside management areas on ten of Montana’s most important rivers. The bill is being held up in the House Local Government Committee by declaring it a “Revenue Bill”. It would allow local governments to charge a fee to recoup their costs for riparian management so, Presto!, revenue bill. Dumb, but we still hope to get this one moving.
  • HB190, the bill to codify and clarify Montana stream access laws passed the House 97-3 and gets it’s first hearing in the Senate Fish & Game Committee on March 19. Keep this one in mind when you are contacting your senators.
  • SB343, the Invasive Species bill by Verdell Jackson of Kalispell got a fairly decent hearing in the Senate Finance and Claims Committee Friday. This is a bill to make the state more proactive in stopping invasive species like the Zebra Mussel and Quagga Mussel before they generate millions of dollars in problems in Montana.
  • And finally, HB288, to make human cloning illegal in Montana passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 11-1 after sailing through the House. They amended the bill to reduce the impact on therapeutic cloning and allowing women to donate eggs for medical research. We all know how big a problem human cloning is in Montana and across the nation so, we are glad that the crackpots in the legislature are spending their valuable time on this type of nutty legislation rather than spending it screwing up our environment.

One Response

  1. […] if all that wasn’t enough for you, don’t miss The Button Valley Bugle with their brief which includes upcoming legislation – a fantabulous bill from Bozeman’s Rep. JP Pomnichowski […]

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