The Montana legislature is determined to take that state's clean water. It passed two bills that allow degradation of Montana's streams and lakes. The bills were pushed by mining, ranching, logging and real estate. Developers succeeded in loosening septic tank standards for new homes.
That could spell death for the purity of
Montana's immense Flathead Lake, which has been a magnet for real
estate development. The April 13 Billings Gazette urged Gov. Marc
Racicot to veto the bills: "Don't let the people down, governor.
Keep Montana's waters clean." (P.S.: He let the public down.)
On a brighter note, the Billings Gazette
reported that the Department of State Lands killed the proposed
Montco coal mine in eastern Montana by refusing to extend the
deadline for the company to begin mining coal at the site, east of
Birney. The mine was associated with the proposed Tongue Creek
Railroad. Members of Native Action and the Northern Cheyenne tribe
and the Northern Plains Resource Council were pleased by the
action, and praised commissioner Bud Clinch.
Colorado ski industry has taken a drubbing this year (it was down 7
percent in March), in part because skiers can't get to the slopes
due to avalanches, snowy roads and jack-knifed trailer trucks. The
situation is partly due to a lack of snowplow operators on
Interstate 70 because Colorado can't pay its road crews enough to
live in ski country. The ski industry, according to the April 20
Denver Post, is determined to do something about the low pay and
lack of housing for plow operators.
Vista of Santa Fe, which publishes "as soon as we raise the money
for the next issue," reports that the Hotel Employees and
Restaurant Employees International Union is attempting to organize
service workers in Santa Fe. The activist newsletter said that 50
hotel managers from Santa Fe and Albuquerque met in December to try
to figure out how to counter the organizing.
the Boise National Forest, the April 5 Idaho Falls Post Register
reports, the agency set fire to 1,400 acres of overgrown timber to
clear out brush and invading trees choking ponderosa pine forests.
They hope to burn 20,000 to 30,000 acres a year for the next two
decades to begin to save ponderosa pine forests from brush and
subsequent wildfires. The agency was forced to forget about Smokey
Bear by a 1992 fire, in which 256,000 acres of brush-infested
forest were burned in the Foothills Fire. John McCarthy,
conservation director for the Idaho Conservation League, praised
the controlled burn policy as "a real positive change."
the Republican revolution rolls on, opposition is
In Arizona, state Senate Democrats
threatened to filibuster a bill to yank citizens' right to sue to
compel the state to enforce clean-air and clean-water laws. After
the threat, the Arizona Republic (4/5/95) said Republican leaders
found a number of its members also opposed the bill, which has now
been amended to remove offending language.
environmental groups are spending up to $3 million on ads opposing
takings and anti-regulatory bills passed by the House. The efforts
focus on the states of 10 swing senators; the theme is that we are
heading back to the past, with the ads illustrated with footage
showing the Cuyahoga River burning its way through Cleveland and
factories belching smoke, according to Seattle's
environmental groups hope to present an Environmental Bill of
Rights, with 1 million signatures, to House Speaker Newt Gingrich
after July 4.
Gingrich may be wasting his time on
takings. He should be repealing the laws of physics. According to
AP, insurance companies are worried about tremendous losses they
have suffered from major storms since 1987, and fear what future
atmospheric unrest will bring. Insurance executives joined
environmentalists in Berlin at a global warming conference to push
for reductions of greenhouse gases.
Lloyds of London showing a bit of green, counterattacks pall before
attacks. The House Budget Committee voted to sink the Land and
Water Conservation Fund, used since the 1960s to purchase open
space. It had been squeezed down under Clinton to $200 million a
year. Now, the Budget Committee wants to do an uncompensated
takings on the fund to save $939 million over the next five years.
The recommendation for the five-year spending moratorium went to
the House Appropriations Committee.
Marston and staff