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Otter Creek and Utter Rhetoric

Just a quick reminder. The State Land Board meets tomorrow at 9am in Helena to decide the fate of the state portion of the Otter Creek coal tracts. If you don’t have anything in particular to do, the meeting will be broadcast live on the internet. The fate of Otter Creek is late on the agenda, but agendas change.

A big tip of the Bugle fedora to 22 Democratic state lawmakers who wrote to the Land Board to refute a letter last week by 14 Republicans claiming that global warming is just “rhetoric” and urging the Board to “develop our vast coal treasure”. The Dems countered that,

“While everyone is entitled to an opinion, there is only one set of facts. The facts are clear: Climate change is real, the pace of change is quickening, and the effects are increasingly widespread, disastrous and destined to spread across the landscape with great indifference to the impacts on humanity.”

“Burning 575 million tons of coal from the Otter Creek Valley in existing power plants would result in emission of carbon-dioxide statewide,” the Democratic lawmakers said. “A billion tons of carbon-dioxide is an enormous amount that would contribute to environmental problems for decades to come.

It’s refreshing to see that at least some in the legislature retain a hold on their sanity.

Also, a mighty thumbs up to Mike Dennison for pointing out that, “Otter Creek revenue may not increase funding for schools” as has been claimed by some mining proponents.

“Here’s how the funding streams work, on leased state minerals and mine development:
The company that leases the Otter Creek coal would pay a “bonus bid” into a fund that goes directly to public schools next year, probably at least $57 million. However, that amount will be offset by a reduction in money budgeted for schools from the state’s general fund. The end result is a $57 million windfall for the state’s general fund. Schools get the same amount of state money that the 2009 Legislature authorized.”

No matter how many millions Montana gets from leasing the Otter Creek coal, funding for schools still has to go through a legislature that doesn’t believe we should have public schools and that the money could be better spent saving guns and fetuses. If you haven’t sent an opinion on Otter Creek to the Land Board yet, you still have today to let them know that this is a really, really stupid thing to do.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer — (406) 444-3111, governor@mt.gov

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Denise Juneau — In-State Toll-Free 1-888-231-9393, Local (406) 444-3095 OPISupt@mt.gov

Attorney General Steve Bullock – (406) 444-2026 contact doj@mt.gov

State Auditor Monica Lindeen – (406) 444-2040 mlindeen@mt.gov

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch – (406) 444-2034 sos.mt.gov

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One Response

  1. […] of information. In fact, I see The Editor has a “final push” post up too – titled “Otter Creek and Utter Rhetoric” that shouldn’t be […]

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