Did I read this correct? It sounds like environmental groups in Montana are actually speaking out against a bill that would provide more funding for infrastructure needs in Montana cities that are experiencing an economic boom from the Bakken oil fields.
Amy Sisk with the UM School of Journalism ‘s Community News Service offers an in depth report on various bills pertaining to infrastructure needs in the Bakken communities.
Here’s an excerpt that caught my attention:
Rep. Rob Cook, R-Conrad, said people across Montana reap benefits from the government’s take of oil production tax revenue and federal mineral royalties, but it’s the communities along the Bakken that need it most right now.
His proposal would send 25 percent of the state’s share of federal mineral royalties to cities and towns in the region. That money, which amounts to about $8 million a year, would match counties’ current take of the royalties. Currently, the state gets 50 percent of federal mineral royalties. Of that, 75 percent goes to the state’s general fund and 25 percent goes to counties. Under Cook’s proposal, the state would get 50 percent, cities would get 25 percent and counties would get 25 percent.
Representatives from the Montana Organizing Project and the Northern Plains Resource Council spoke in opposition of the bill, although both said they agree with its intent.
Now, in their defense, the previously-named organizations said that they are only opposing this bill because they want other programs across the state to benefit from the money that is flowing in (thanks to the oil that is flowing of course). Instead, they are calling for new taxes and fees on the very resource development that is bringing in the cash in the first place.
Could it not also be assumed that some of these very same environmental organizations hope to create new fees and taxes in order to simply hinder oil and gas development? How can you claim to be protecting the golden egg while simultaneously hoping to kill the goose?