“The loads will defile the Blackfoot,” Ms. Smith said. The road through the Blackfoot Valley “will be a road to the worst, instead of a sacred highway through what is beautiful and natural.”
Yep, thats the kind of hyperbolic rhetoric that is attracting the print media to the “big rig” debate in Idaho and Montana. That quote and storyline was featured in this piece in The New York Times over the weekend. The Times was quoting Annick Smith, who moved to Montana in 1971 and helped place the book “A River Runs Through It” on the big screen. “A road to the worst.” And I was almost ready to take her seriously.
Nonetheless, give it to the NY Times to at least recognize the fact that the Democratic Governor of Montana’s remarks in regard to this debate are not only filled with common sense, but are also newsworthy. I find it odd that despite the near daily coverage given to the issue by newspapers like The Missoulian, and even though both TV (CBS) and radio (NBS) in Montana have covered the Governors remarks, I don’t think the large papers have yet covered the Governors remarks. Then again -we may have missed it.
You may recall what the Governor told me back on November 30th; here’s what the Governor told the Times:
Gov. Brian Schweitzer supports the route and says its opponents are overreacting. “Chlorine, insecticides and fertilizers go down these roads in trucks every day,” he said. “If they spill, they would kill fish for 50 to 100 miles.”
But the large loads, he said, “are inert, like big shoe boxes made of steel. If one fell in the river, they could be cut in half or taken out whole.” Until they were removed, he argued, “fish could spawn under them.”
But Mr. Schweitzer argues that the roads are a federally financed transportation corridor. “Montana can’t up and change the rules because we don’t like somebody,” he said of the efforts by opponents to stop the loads.