In the interest of time: here is a random collection of some of the other stories and blog posts you may have missed over the holiday.
Powder River- Let Her Fly
Jack The Blogger Calls for Powder River Expansion
It’s been an interesting week for the military in Montana, and it’s not been a good one.
The day before Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester voted to cut the number of missiles assigned to Malmstrom AFB by voting for the START Treaty, they sent a letter to the Air Force stating their opposition to the expansion of Powder River Training Complex in southeastern Montana.
our elected leaders have placed a sign on Montana’s skies saying they are closed. They may lose the F-15s and their attitude against the Powder River expansion probably did not help that situation or the possibility of any military aircraft mission ever coming to Montana.
EPA Taking on Forestry Groups- Flathead Beacon
A recent study commissioned by the National Alliance of Forestry Owners states that a new Environmental Protection Agency rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions will severely limit woody biomass renewable energy projects if implemented as scheduled in January.
This conclusion echoes an earlier letter sent to Congress by more than 100 scientists arguing that “equating biogenic carbon emissions with fossil fuel emissions… is not consistent with good science and, if not corrected, could stop the development of new emission reducing biomass energy facilities.”
“Taking into account impacts on investment in wood bioenergy projects, particularly in wood-rich states and regions, implementation of the Tailoring Rule could leave up to 30 states unable to meet renewable energy goals,” Mendell said in a release.
Longtime Dem Operative Named to Political Practices Post- KRTV
Governor Brian Schweitzer has nominated Jennifer Hensley to serve as the next Commissioner of Political Practices.
Hensley, a Butte resident, has worked for U.S. Senator Jon Tester and has also conducted field work on several ballot measures. Hensley is married to MT State Senator Steve Gallus.
Among the “field work”- lobbying on behalf of “Change That Works” which advocated on behalf of the federal health care bill.
Wanzenreid Begins Gubernatorial Campaign- MT Standard
A Democratic state senator from Missoula, Dave Wanzenried, has filed the paperwork that allows him to begin raising money for a 2012 campaign for governor.
Wanzenried is the first Democrat to file his statement of candidacy for governor in 2012, when governor will be an open seat. Wanzenried, 62, served in the Montana House from 1991-94 from Kalispell and from 2001-06 from Missoula and was elected minority leader in 2003-04 and Democratic leader in 2005-06. He has served in the Senate since 2007.
GOP targets ‘excessive environmental’ regulation- Great Falls Tribune
Republican lawmakers, who will hold majorities in both houses of the state Legislature for the first time since 2003, are preparing an aggressive agenda for the 2011 session.
One of the top priorities for the GOP will be reining in what they describe as “excessive environmental regulation.” Legislative staffers are in the process of drafting dozens of bills aimed at everything from repealing the state’s bedrock environmental law to lifting the ban on nuclear facilities to weakening the state Superfund hazardous waste cleanup law. Incoming House Majority Leader Rep. Tom McGillvray of Billings said that next to balancing the budget without increasing taxes, creating “an environment where jobs can flourish” will be the GOP’s top priority for 2011.
Afghan Murder Charge May Be Dropped Against Billings Soldier- Seattle Times
Col. Thomas Malloy, an Army judge advocate who presided over Gibbs’ November pretrial hearing, has recommended that one of the three murder charges be dropped because it could be difficult to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt, according to sources who have seen the document that contains that proposal.
Gibbs is one of five Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers accused of murder in high-stakes cases that have drawn international attention to how the U.S. military-justice system handles war crimes.
Gibbs has never admitted any wrongdoing. Prosecutors portray Gibbs as a squad leader who led his men down a dark path to kill unarmed civilians and then make the deaths appear like legitimate battlefield casualties.
But in his report to Army commanders, Malloy noted that Morlock and Winfield had a history of drug use, a relative lack of maturity, and culpability in some of the offenses, and all this “could affect how the fact-finders consider their testimony.”