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Transparency Denied

Oh Boy! This is what the farmers and ranchers downstream from Billings have been waiting for, a turf war…

Montana withdraws from oil spill cleanup over ‘lack of transparency’

If we can just get the State of Montana, Exxon Mobil and the EPA to quit talking to each other, we can double the cleanup cost and halve the effectiveness.

It’s really bad. We had to move [150 goats] all the way up to where our house is basically – the two pastures that we have up by our house and the only ones that didn’t get flooded. So we can’t use the majority of our farm right now. We can’t cut hay. We can’t graze our animals. It’s really bad.”

Hey, sorry but “those guys” aren’t playing nice. “They’re telling our Department of Environmental Quality officials that the documents that we’re sharing are not public documents, and I have said we will not be involved in an organization like that, so we’re pulling out.””  So There!

Hey, wait. Are these guys in Montana? Is this guy the Governor of Montana? And Exxon Mobil is telling the Governor of the state what they are going to do? Umm… I’m sorry, but there seems to be something wrong with this picture. Right from the start, Exxon has lied to the public, lied to the landowners and lied to the state. First they said they had to shut the pipeline down because of high water. Then when the flow went up, they decided that it was okay to open the line because they were losing revenue. They said pipe was 5-8 feet below the river, then when the state said that wasn’t deep enough, they decided that it was really 12 feet down. Turns out that was not “exactly” true either. “A DOT spokesman on Thursday clarified the 12-foot figure as applying to the section of pipeline beneath the bank of the river.” Seems like everything these guys have said so far needs “clarification”.

So, we know they are going to lie to us. We know they will do everything they can to limit the liability of the company. We know they won’t really clean up more than a fraction of the oil. So, we’ll just pick up our marbles and go home. We won’t talk to the bastards. We’ll do our own testing. We’ll spend tax dollars that we probably will never get back from Exxon because they just aren’t nice people.

“The state will no longer have a presence at the Crowne Plaza because Exxon Mobil tells us they can’t respect the open government laws we have in Montana,” Schweitzer told The Associated Press. “I can’t allow state employees to be in meetings at the Crowne Plaza talking about this cleanup without having it open.”

Excuse me, but is this the State of Exxon or the State of Montana? Do we really give a hoot whether these guys “respect” our laws or not? Doesn’t Governor Brian have one of his folksy sayings to cover this situation like maybe, “There ain’t nobody gonna blow smoke up the south side of this north-facing governor.”

Just fix the damn problem! If Exxon doesn’t like the way we do it in Montana, that’s just too damn bad. It ain’t their call.

“And let us not forget our most important asset in Montana that is our quality of life.” – Governor Brian Schweitzer


3 Responses

  1. […] a lot of great posts this week about the Yellowstone oil spill. Over at the Button Valley Bugle, a great post about the lack of transparency happening as the whitewash cleanup happens. MT Cowgirl and Rob […]

  2. At least the State of Montana is finally recognizing the current relationship between the US government and US corporations…

    • The state of Montana and our “Coal Cowboy” governor are in the process of positioning themselves for the inevitable lawsuits. We’ll sue them. They’ll sue us. And 20 years down the pike maybe Montana will get a nice fat settlement. In the mean time, the oil is not getting cleaned up, Farmers and ranchers will go broke waiting on Exxon and the state to get things settled and fish and wildlife will suffer. Look at the Exxon Valdez, there are still unsettled lawsuits over that, and a thick coating of oil still sits on the bottom of Prince William Sound. That fishery has never recovered.

      Exxon would love to keep this thing in litigation for the next couple of decades. They’ve got more money than Montana and the longer they keep it in court, the cheaper it is for them. If they would both just stop posturing and spend what they will eventually spend on lawsuits on cleaning up the damn oil they could make Montana whole. But, we all know that ain’t going to happen.

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