Enough is enough

Sunday, November 4, 2018
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Guest Column

Montana, the Treasure State, where it has become quite apparent, now more so than ever that the environmental groups, many of which are now based in Montana choose to leave our treasures in the ground. Perhaps this works in states with millions of people and a very diversified business climate but it doesn’t work here, not now nor will it ever, unless of course we choose to lay down and give in and allow out of state interests and their millions of dollars to control our state.

Coal mining, hard rock mining, our timber industry and even gravel mining are taboo to these environmental groups. So let’s think about that and give it some perspective. Every person in America will require, 82,169 gallons of Petroleum, 578,956 lbs. of coal, 1,398 lbs. of Copper, 75, 047 lbs. of Cement, 5.71 million cu. ft.of Natural Gas, 1.72 million lbs.of Stone, Sand & Gravel, 5,417 lbs. of Bauxite (Aluminum) and the list goes on. Bottom line to maintain our standard of living 7.1 billion tons of rocks and minerals are required every year, that’s 48,000 pounds of new minerals that must be provided for every person in the USA per year. Many of these minerals are produced right here in Montana and with further mining and processing we could once again be a well to do state with lots of high paying jobs that our children and grandchildren would stay in Montana for.

Since 1973 Montana’s Natural Resource production has done nothing but drop. In 1973 the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) was enacted. MEPA is above and beyond what the US Environmental Protection Agency requires, which most states feel is quite adequate. Montana has some of the most stringent environmental regulations of any state in the US and we do not need to make them more stringent.

So here is what we are up against, environmental groups such as the Northern Plains Resource Council (NPRC) based in Montana, the Sierra Club, the American Prairie Reserve (APR) based in Montana, the Audubon Society and the list goes on. These groups are special interest groups that get the majority of their funding from out of state. The NPRC was started in the 70’s by a group of ranchers to fight the beef checkoff that promotes beef and agricultural research programs. Since then they have become mostly an East Coast propaganda machine that would like to do away with the modern beef industry. Those of us who have dealt with the NPRC know it to be a well funded antibusiness group that sharply criticizes anyone that criticizes their methods. Personally I have testified many times in opposition to their stance on mining. They have also formed in group in Glendive called the Dawson Resource Council. They are against mining, they are against oil, coal, pipelines and it would seem the cattle industry. I will mention that they were not critical of Ted Turner and his ranch but then again he donated $200,000 to the NPRC. The majority of the counties in Montana are poor, and without Natural Resource production the only way to support our infrastructure needs is to raise taxes on the people of Montana.

The APR seems to be helping this along by buying up land in Montana, taking it out of production for crops, livestock and natural resource production, therefore no state taxes realized from those businesses. Currently they own over 86,000 deeded acres and are shooting for an additional 3.2 million acres on the hiline. Oh yeah they raise buffalo and have camp outs. Please do not drink the koolaid from any of these groups they are not here for our benefit.

Please, for the benefit of all Montanans, take a good long look at where we are headed if we do not support our Agricultural Industry and our Natural Resource Industry.

Mike Newton is the opeartions manager at Glendive Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. He can be reached at pmnewt@midrivers.com.