Political Trough: President’s “Red Line” in War on Coal

The President is enforcing the “red line”….against Syria? Nope, he’s drawn a new line in the War on Coal, and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) say’s the President just dropped another bomb.  Plus, Congressman Steve Daines’ (R-MT) forest jobs bill passed the US House, will Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) now support his bill in the Senate?  And, an abortion clinic in Livingston, Montana is shutting down, while a rancher in Colstrip fights for access to “contaminated water.”  All that and more is in today’s Political Trough…

Expect the normal gnashing of teeth from the left in Montana after this story, as covered in The Flathead Beacon

Two of Montana’s lawmakers issued statements immediately following the House vote to cut $4 billion annually from the food stamps program.

“Montanans have been waiting far too long for Congress to pass a five-year farm bill. The passage of the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act now allows the House and Senate to come together in conference and work toward a solution that provides our ag producers and rural communities with the long-term certainty that they deserve. This bill also puts in place important reforms that reduce fraud, waste and abuse, make the nutrition assistance program more efficient and effective and ultimately ensure Americans that need assistance are getting it so that they can get back on their feet. I hope that the House and Senate can now work quickly to approve a five-year Farm Bill that put the American people, not politics, first.”


Speaking of elections, The Missoula Independent has a very interesting article asking, “just who is Democratic Senate hopeful Dirk Adams?

“I had hoped Baucus would run again,” Adams says. “And then I’d hoped Schweitzer would run. I was a little distressed that so many state-level politicians didn’t want to run.”

“In my mind, the 2012 Senate race between [Denny] Rehberg and [Jon] Tester was kind of ridiculous in terms of messaging,” says Mark Bond, chair of the Gallatin County Democratic Central Committee, where Adams recently spoke. “The crux of the entire argument of the campaign was essentially who was more Montana … I feel like Mr. Adams saw the messaging of the last campaign cycle and assumed that was really what was the primary prerequisite to be able to be a viable candidate. He seems like a friendly enough guy, but in my mind he’s just a banker who’s got a little too much time on his hands right now.”

Adams wants to be clear that he’s not a “left-wing candidate…”Brian Schweitzer ran with a Republican,” Adams says. “Tester looks like and is a Montana farmer. [Gov. Steve] Bullock ran with a military veteran. They’re not doing it with screaming liberals.”

LifeNews.com: 44 Abortion Clinics Closed in 2013 as Two More Close in Cleveland, Montana

In a year of record closures, two more abortion clinics have gone out of business. These two closures bring the tally of out-of-business abortion businesses to 44 so far this year.
Operation Rescue has confirmed that an abortionist who wore a butcher’s apron while injuring a woman during an abortion has closed his Cleveland, Ohio, abortion clinic and is moving out of state.

Meanwhile, a Livingston, Montana, abortion clinic has announced its closure as of October 1, 2013, due to the impending retirement of long-time abortionist Susan Wicklund.

Red Lines on Syria….wait- scratch that…now a “Red Line” in the war on coal?

From Friday’s Politico Playbook:

–“Coal in President Obama’s climate crosshairs,” by Erica Martinson : “The Obama administration is preparing to draw a red line against coal pollution, with a proposal that for the first time would limit climate-changing emissions from all future power plants. The EPA’s proposed rule … fulfills a key promise to President Obama’s environmental base – while offering a potent line of attack for Republicans in 2014. It kicks off a major effort by Obama’s agencies to tackle climate change without waiting for help from Congress. The White House-vetted proposal would impose strict pollution standards requiring future coal-burning plants to capture and store at least 40 percent their carbon emissions.” http://politi.co/17OshwV

From Senator Mike Enzi’s (R-WY) office:

Another strike was launched by the EPA today in President Obama’s war on coal, one that hits home for Wyoming.  The EPA’s new rule essentially bans construction of new coal-fired power plants by requiring them to use emission-cutting technology that hasn’t been perfected yet.  U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., offered legislation last week that would stop this job-killing rule, but the president’s ally, the Senate majority leader, has brought Senate business to a standstill by refusing to allow a vote on the legislation. 

Colstrip rancher fighting for access….to “contaminated water?”  From The Great Falls Tribune:

Montana developers, Realtors and water well drillers locked horns Thursday with ranchers, conservationists and environmentalists over a proposed rule change that would redefine “combined appropriation” for exempt groundwater wells.

Colstrip rancher Wally McRae, whose ranch is located near the 2,094-megawatt Colstrip Steam Electric Station, said power plant owner PPL Montana is exploiting that loophole to pump large volumes of contaminated ground water from nearby aquifers into leaking coal ash ponds.

McRae said the groundwater pumped into the coal ash impoundments is water that would likely be used by prior groundwater and surface water-rights holders, including his ranch.

Speaking of water, National Geographic is showing some live to Miles City, Montana, according to The Miles City Star:  

When 12 Mile, an irrigation diversion dam on the Tongue River, was first constructed in 1886, no one stopped to think what effect a 10-foot-high dam would have on the fish upstream in the Tongue River. It took several years to find out that fish could not get above the dam to spawn.

Sandra Postel, of National Geographic’s Albuquerque, N.M., office came for a visit and reported on Muggli’s efforts. The article is online in the magazine’s News Watch Water Currents section at http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/05/a-dam-dying-fish-and-a-montana-farmers-lifelong-quest-to-right-a-wrong/.
Approximately 37,000 fish every spring have been enjoying the Muggli bypass.

InForum.com: BNSF leader says upgrades key to rail shipments, safety

The head of BNSF Railway says federal regulators will have to find a balance in creating incentives for railroads to upgrade to newer tank cars while ensuring there’s enough old cars available to handle the huge volumes of Bakken oil being shipped by rail.

BNSF transported nearly 600,000 barrels a day of crude at the end of August, Rose said. In North Dakota, about 70 percent of oil produced in the state is transported by rail today compared to 5 percent in 2005.

To keep up with growing demand for transportation, BNSF will spend $200 million in the Bakken this year and another $400 million over the next 18 months, Rose said.

Bill Dedman, NBC News: Jury selection starts, then stops in Huguette Clark estate trial

Jury selection began Thursday morning in the trial to determine who will inherit the $300 million estate of Huguette M. Clark, the reclusive heiress to a copper mining fortune. But the proceedings were soon halted so that the judge could rule on a procedural matter.

An hour after jury selection began, Surrogate Judge Nora S. Anderson called a halt in order to hear arguments on whether the largest beneficiary of the will — the Bellosguardo Foundation, a new arts charity established by the will at the Clark summer home in Santa Barbara, Calif. — can be represented in court and address the jury.

Some Tweets of the Week:- The global warming “hiatus,” and what happened to the big news for US Senate race? Did Lt. Gov “snub” Baucus at his own summit?  


From a listener to Voices of Montana, Larry in Great Falls:

It will cost $12.5 Million Dollars ( 1/2 ) of this $25 Million Dollar “Grant” just to “Administer” these Job Training Programs for four years?  It looks again like there are some awfully, awfully well paid “Higher Education Administrators; Navigators; and Coaches” in the state of Montana!

From The Great Falls Tribune article:

“Wolff said half of the grant will be spent on administering the statewide program. There will be an administrator of the grant, workforce navigators to work with students in the energy and advanced manufacturing training program, an accountant for the program, job coaches and more.”

“The other half of the grant will go to the college specifically to ramp up their welding and fabrication programs already in existence.”

Here’s reaction from energy industry consultant Bill Whitsitt of Bigfork, Montana on the latest fracking/greenhouse gas report from The University of Texas and The Environmental Defense Fund:

“Put another way, EPA’s estimates are more than 30 times – or more than 3000% — higher than findings of the study based on actual measurement.” – Bill Whitsitt

 I first mentioned this news yesterday:

A University of Texas-Austin study released Monday found that methane emissions from new wells being prepared for production, a process known as completion, captured 99% of the escaping methane—on average 97% lower than estimates released in 2011 by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is the most comprehensive shale gas emissions study ever undertaken on methane leakage, covering 190 well pads around the United States.

 And, the quote of the week from Sen. Max Baucus’ Economic Development Summit in Butte.  This news from the AP:

Business leaders from Oracle Corp., Ford Motor Co. and The Boeing Co. said Tuesday their companies have found that it makes sense to bring jobs back to the United States — even to smaller cities in places such as Montana.

Oracle President Safra Catz, speaking to a gathering of several thousand business leaders and others at a jobs summit in Butte, said her company has been centering its cloud computing division in the nearby mountain town of Bozeman.

“What is wonderful about Montana is that I know I have great people, and I don’t have to worry about civil war breaking out,” Catz said. “I know that sounds funny, but I have civil war in some of my countries.”

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