Coal protesters are deliberately trying to tie up Montana’s infrsatructure in an effort to block coal development. The drug problem in the Bakken region predates the oil boom. And, The National Wildlife Federation’s Steve Woodruff wants to “pull out all the stops” in an effort to force a free-roaming bison herd on Montana. Those stories are below…
Right now, Montana’s state wildlife agency is cautiously exploring the possibility of restoring wild bison to large expanses of public land like the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.
“Cautious” may be an understatement. The department recently published its “Framework for a Montana Bison Conservation and Management Plan,” and the disappointing alternatives and discussion laid out in that framework exude a remarkable lack of enthusiasm for restoring bison. Amid pressure from ranchers and cow-country legislators, the agency also just cancelled a critical meeting intended to help accelerate work on the bison plan.
Now we must pull out all the stops to win room for bison to once again roam their native habitat. It’s time to fully engage ranchers and agency decision-makers—address their concerns, examine the facts and deliver a resounding message that the American people are steadfast in support of the restoration of bison.
Missoula Independent: Anti-Coal Protesters Blocking Rail Cars
From a few hundred yards east of the railroad’s junction with Greenough Drive, a train whistle pierces the calm Sunday afternoon. Seven protesters—flanked by two city police officers—sit unfazed and undaunted next to the tracks. One of the officers gives them a final polite warning: Continue the protest and be arrested for disorderly conduct.
“This is the beginning of a sustained, nonviolent resistance to the exporting of coal,” says 350-Missoula co-chair Jeff Smith.
Dave Jones, the protesters’ designated police liaison, first warned the Missoula Police Department days earlier that a nonviolent protest would be occurring, but kept even them in the dark about the specifics until the last minute. The secrecy was deemed necessary after Montana Rail Link got wind of a similar protest in Helena last September and stopped the train outside of town. The goal for today, Jones says, is to get photos of the coal train with protest signs in front of it.
SayAnythingBlog.com: North Dakota Drug Issues Predate The Oil Boom
The media loves to focus on what I generically call the “dark side of the oil boom” stories, particularly in election years when political factions push the narratives for their own gain. We hear about skyrocketing rents. Crime. Traffic. Environmental disasters, some exaggerated and others real.
This is certainly very troubling, but is this happening because of the oil boom? Over at Million Dollar Way, Bruce Oksol digs up this Bismarck Tribune article from 2002 about drug use in the Bakken. It reports on a startling surge in meth labs in North Dakota – a “tremendous problem” according to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem – which occurred about a half-decade before the Bakken oil boom even got started.
The oil boom gets blamed for bringing problems with drugs to North Dakota, but that’s not exactly true. There were problems before the oil boom came along.