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Old No. 5

C’mon guys! We’re not trying hard enough. The new American Rivers list of the ten most endangered rivers is out and only one Montana river made the list. Cline Mining wants to do a little mountain top removal on the North Fork of the Flathead River in British Columbia. I guess it must be a small mountain because the North Fork only made number five on the list. flathead1British Petroleum is also interested in doing a bit of Coal Bed Methane drilling up there too, but that didn’t help raise our river to number 1.  This is the place that the NPCA calls the “Wildest River Valley in the Lower 48“, so it should be at least number one on the list of places we need to screw up.  The North Fork did fair better on the Outdoor Recreation Council of British Columbia list. It made number one on the list of most endangered B.C. Rivers, but then they are a foreign organization, what do they know.

Yes, soon Montana too may be home to a large mudflow of toxic coal ash like they had in Tennessee just before Christmas. The Kingston Fossil plant dumped 1.1 billion gallons of coal slurry down a peaceful little river valley, more gunk than was released by the Exxon coalashValdez. A similar mistake in B.C. could flow all the way to Flathead Lake. The Lodgepole mine is aiming to remove around 40 million tons of bituminous coal from their B.C. site and Provincial environmental oversight is not as sterling as say, the EPA and State oversight in Tennessee.

The upper Yellowstone and the Clarks Fork have made the list in the past. I’m sure if we put our minds to it and push more coal and gas-friendly legislation like the legislature is doing this year, Montana could come to dominate the list of endangered rivers in the future. Let’s shoot for number one! Or maybe to dominate the top five rivers.


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