Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) is proving to be an independent voice on environmental issues in Montana. Earlier this week Daines was praised by environmentalists for his support of the North Fork Preservation Act.
However, during a townhall meeting regarding a proposed lockup on the Rocky Mountain Front, Daines is proving that he won’t simply be a pushover on wilderness bills advocated by international NGO’s and Montana’s two US Senators.
A listening session hosted by Rep. Steve Daines to gather public input on a bill that would preserve current conditions on some 275,000 acres of public land on the Rocky Mountain Front drew 200 people to Choteau on Wednesday afternoon.
“We don’t have consensus right now, you can see from this meeting, on the Heritage Act,” Daines said after the hourlong meeting, that gave critics and proponents two minutes each for a face-to-face with Daines, a Republican and the state’s lone congressman.
“I can tell you straight up I don’t,” Daines told the audience at the close of the meeting, responding to one critic of the bill who claimed Daines has his mind made up to support the bill.
The liberal High Country News magazine features a column headlined, “Daines Warms to Conservation.” The column lauds newly elected Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) for his support of the North Fork Preservation Act:
Here’s what I found remarkable: It was the first time Montana’s entire congressional delegation — of both parties and both houses — agreed on a piece of public lands legislation in at least 25 years.
I don’t expect Daines to be an environmentalists’ superhero. Before he made the announcement in West Glacier, he toured the giant Plum Creek sawmills in nearby Columbia Falls. He campaigned on his support for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
I do expect Daines will catch flak for warming up to Democrats and their ideas on conservation, even a little. His ideological right flank may put up a challenger in the next primary.
In other energy/environment news, Politico’s “Morning Energy” had this summary of a WSJ editorial on pipelines:
– The Wall Street Journal editorial board argues that replacing older pipelines (the Arkansas spill occurred along a pipeline built in the 1940s) will help prevent leaks in the future. “The best way to minimize leaks is to replace this aging network with modern pipelines such as the one planned for the Keystone XL, which use technology that instantly recognizes leaks and immediately shuts down oil flow.” WSJ: http://on.wsj.com/ZZxpup
“Morning Energy” also featured a preview of a new video promoted by the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress which is clearly an attempt to halt oil and gas drilling in the Bakken:
COMING TODAY: Center for American Progress Public Lands Project is putting out a short video documenting how North Dakota’s Bakken oil boom is surrounding and affecting Theodore Roosevelt National Park, narrated by Teddy Roosevelt descendent Winthrop Roosevelt: http://youtu.be/tfOpPnfW0lo
Rob Port with the Minot, North Dakota-based SayAnythingBlog had this in response to the video:
That’s an easy thing to say when you don’t own mineral rights. We should remember that most of the land in the Bakken formation is privately-owned. The people who own mineral rights want the resources they own developed so that they can reap the economic benefit. Telling someone who owns mineral rights that you want to slow their development at the peak of market conditions is like telling a farmer he can’t plant when wheat prices are high.
We have protected areas in North Dakota. There is no drilling allowed in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There is drilling allowed near the park, but so what? That’s privately-held land.