There They Go Again

Responding to a Lee Newspapers questionnaire in today’s Helena Independent Record, the seven GOP gubernatorial candidates all said that Montana must “develop our natural resources” as a way to reduce unemployment and make our economy strong, and that “red tape” and “excessive regulations” are standing in the way of such development.

Which raises an interesting question: what resources, exactly, are we not developing?  Are there oil wells known to be pregnant that have not been tapped, because of regulations?  I doubt it.  The amount of exploration taking place in Eastern Montana is comprehensive.  Landowners often receive giant checks from oil companies just for the right to test the ground and search for oil.  Any identified oil deposit whose recovery would not be hindered by some geological problem is already being drilled.

And coal?  The rights to the Otter Creek coal deposit are now owned by the largest coal company in America, with designs on extracting it after paying an up front bonus of $80 million to the state of Montana.  To my knowledge, the Arch company has not indicated that any rules or regulations are causing a hindrance to development.  Nor have the owners of any other coal deposit, or oil field.

As is well known, Montana is developing its resources at a faster rate than at any time in the state’s history.  So the question that should have been asked of these candidates is: What resources are not being developed?  Where are they, precisely? Who owns them? And why are these owners not registering the same complaint as these seven buffoons running for Governor?

Perhaps the able newspaperwomen and men at the Lee company will ask these follow-up questions in the future.



55 Comments on "There They Go Again"

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | April 1, 2012 9:39 PM at 9:39 PM |

    Well, the Pubbies are mad ’cause we haven’t built the railroad yet. Oh, not the Tongue River Railroad, but the CRAZY TRAIN! All aboard! bhwhahahahahaaa!

    They’ve got nuthin’! Hell, when Zinke showed up on this site, I asked him to explain his positions. He refused and left immediately.

    If we HAD a real press, they would ask the questions that we ask here.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | April 1, 2012 9:45 PM at 9:45 PM |

      p.s. And every single ONE of these morons SOUNDS exactly like ex-guv judy mars! And how’d THAT work out for ya? If you’re ONLY qualification is being the biggest industry pimp you can be, you ain’t qulaified!

  2. You didn’t mention Western Montana’s natural resources. The state government and federal government have crippled timber and mining development in Western Montana.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | April 1, 2012 9:48 PM at 9:48 PM |

      Where, cupcake? And how? Seems to ME that the PEOPLE of Montana kinda told the mining industry for f*ck OFF with the passage of I-137! You see, cupcake, the PEOPLE of Montana don’t always WANT to live in a toxic, denuded shithole! You might, but not everyone does! Might I suggest that you move to Wyoming! They LUV morons down there!

    • Logging declined as the timber industry needed less logs. Ever heard of the free market?

      • While you have a point, Yeavet, it is somewhat incorrect. Yes, the demand did decrease for a period of time. That coupled with stiffer regulations and the envirnmentalists sueing every time a timber company wanted to harvest logs, created a business environment that was unprofitable for logging companies and timber mills to operate.

        Your implied conclusion that the demand is less is sort of correct. Certain sectors of the lumber industry have declined in demand. Other sectors have increased in demand. Finished lumber is actually in sort supply (the supply does not meet the demand). The cost of that shortage is felt anytime you wish to purchase finished lumber.

        • Yeavet5 was exactly spot on in bringing up ‘the free market’. In terms of profitability of timber production it is myopic to focus only on demand without looking to supply. Simply put, what makes ‘the business environment unprofitable’ isn’t regulation or lawsuit. The business environment is unprofitable for US companies because the Canadians are kicking our ass with cheaper production and vastly higher board foot yield.

          • So it isn’t a decline in demand but an increase in supply from Canada that is killing the US lumber industry? (I am not being a smartass, I am really interested). What leads you to conclude that?

            • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | April 2, 2012 3:27 PM at 3:27 PM |

              All that Boreal Forest being cut down in Canada to make way for tar sands Production has probably made that glut for wood products in the free market!

              The fresh air those trees produced, will make our air here in Montana, Harder to breath in the eastern part of the state with PPL being the 8th most toxic air producer in the country. Yep you republicans don’t care about clean air though. cause you don’t believe in Climate warming either!


              Take a good look at those photos Republicans, cause that’s Eastern Montana In 10 years!

              • Yep you republicans don’t care about clean air though. cause you don’t believe in Climate warming either!

                Are you serious to attack Moorcat and call him a “you republican” that doesn’t care about clean air? Have you become completely unhinged after the Norma/Monty impersonation fiasco?

                Last I looked Democrats Schweitzer, Tester, and Baucus, one and all, support the XL pipeline that would bring tar sands oil to the US.

                • KXL is DOA.

                • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | April 2, 2012 3:59 PM at 3:59 PM |

                  Craig Again you are putting word in my Mouth again that I never said. Moorecat has already said in the Health forum debate thread March 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm the Following:

                  “Given the platform for the current Republican Party, I am anything BUT a Republican. Yes, I used to identify as a Republican, but the change in what that term means compells me to be violently opposed to having people label me as Republican.”

                  Try again! Craigooo Your still making me laugh!

              • Where to begin….

                As Craig has already pointed out, I am far from your “run of the mill” Republican and certianly don’t identify as such. In fact, in many things, I closer to the current “Democrat” in most viewpoints. I prefer the label “Independant” but political labels have become fairly useless in today’s “there is only Us and Then” world.

                Second, the fall of logging and lumber production in the West far predates the Tar sands project. While I was saving for College, I worked at Oregon/Canadian Forest products west of Hillsboro Oregon, first as Green Chain puller, later as an equipment supervisor, load calculator, and eventually lumber grader. That is where my interest comes in. Even back in 1985, the logger field was hurting and getting lumber to resaw was getting harder and harder.

                As far as clean air, I think my stance on that has been pretty well expressed. The idea that you think I am a climate change denier is even more laughable. Craig is making a half handed reference to the many arguments we have personally had about global warming. I still have my NOAA login from college so I can look at the raw data (I prefer to draw my own conclusions based on the data rather than be told what to expect).

                As far as the pipeline, Craig is right. It has a great deal of support, not only from the Montana politicians, but from a large number of Montana citizens. I don’t have a recent poll to pull from, but the last poll I saw (shortly after President Obama made the decision to not sign off on the pipeline – a decision I supported, btw but not for the reasons you would think), indicated almost 62% of Montanans support the construction of the pipeline.

                I am still torn on the issue, myself. While I am unconvinced that fracking or tar sands oil/gas production can be safely and without major damage to the environment, I also recognise the need for high paying jobs in Montana. As I posted recently in a responce to Larry, you can focus all you want on the downsides to the Bakkan boom, but you also can’t ignore the upsides being seen for a great many people. Ignoring one for the other is just silly.

                • More union membership would help fix the oil and coal fields, Mr. Kailey. An Enbridge pipeline conference in BC was cancelled because of “security concerns.”

                  70 million acres of collapsed pine forest would replace a bunch of petroleum packaging: Montana has the water, too.

                • Schweitzer did not mince words as to his support:

                  Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) is expressing frustration with the debate in Washington over the Keystone XL pipeline, which he strongly supports.

                  “Ninety per cent of these jackasses that are complaining about the Keystone pipeline in Washington, D.C., one year ago wouldn’t have even known where the Keystone was. While we were doing the heavy lifting here in Montana and in South Dakota and in Kansas and Oklahoma … in Washington, D.C. … all these great defenders had never heard of Keystone before,” Schweitzer said in an interview published Thursday.

            • When it comes to profitability, supply and demand are not ‘either – or’; they work together and that’s where history stands against us (the US). It is more profitable to produce board feet of lumber out of old growth timber than it is out of what currently remains log-able in the US. In the 1950s, the US began a rather massive ‘suburbanization’, causing a huge demand for cheap lumber, the likes of which Canada has yet to see. We logged the hell out of places like Oregon and Montana to feed a rather rapacious demand that went on for decades. High tariffs kept Canadian wood out of the profitable US markets. Wisely, we also set aside areas of old growth in an effort to protect our wild lands. That just put more pressure on areas that were to be logged.

              Enter NAFTA. We’ve already logged the easily attainable profit bearing woods, but Canada has an overwhelming supply of them. And the lack of regulation on our side of the border handed the Canadian timber industry the profit edge. Now, our demand is depressed with the collapse of the housing industry. Higher profit lumber opportunities simply don’t exist in the states when Canada has a huge supply and no impediment to import it. So it isn’t just an increase in supply from Canada, but rather a competition in which we just don’t have raw material to compete.

              • Thanks, Rob, that made a lot of sense.

                • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | April 2, 2012 5:16 PM at 5:16 PM |

                  I don’t know when you guys last flew over Washington, Oregon and Northern California, But I fly down to LA two or three times a year. The forests have been devastated by logging and it shows.

                  It pretty much Looks like this looking out the windows of the plane from seattle to medicino california! around 750 miles


                  • Norma, one needn’t fly to the coast. When’s the last time you’ve been to the Yaak?

                    • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | April 2, 2012 5:54 PM at 5:54 PM |

                      I just blew through there once, but I know the stories there. Good people concerned for their forests, rose up an took them back. It is now and will be a bigger gem for Montana again someday…. it came almost too late for a lot of Oregon, and coastal Northern California.

                      Hell, This state is so Big there is a myriad of places I still haven’t been too in Montana. Still Places I haven’t tried to drown a tied fly at, still places I haven’t photographed! Every year I make a trip to two or three new places in the state for summer vacationing, while squeezing in time for relatives in other states.

                      The tent and sleeping bag hardly get a rest in summer. My dogs complain at summers end, cause they are getting too old to travel, just like me…but I gotta do it. Dogs be danged! I forgot about Yaak, Ill add that valley back to the list next year and make a point to pause, and enjoy the valley real people saved.

                    • Russians are logging with airships then burning prescriptively. source.

                    • Norma, if you ever get to Many Glaciers, hike up to Upper Red Rock Lake. There is an island at the west end with a creek entering. You will see a shelf with a sharp drop off. Make your way to the small island and enter the water. Tie on a sinking ant pattern and fish the shelf. You will catch 3 to 5 lb. brookies. Lures won’t work.

                    • Norma, if you ever need a hiking partner, let me know. I don’t get out nearly enough due to not being able to drive.

          • …and Canadians have cheaper production in part because of less regulation, which brings my argument full circle. There are many other factors at play, but you would be lying if you claimed that environmentalist lawsuits and heavier government regulation did not play a part in the decline of Western Montana’s timber industry.

            • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | April 2, 2012 3:40 PM at 3:40 PM |

              Its the tar sand production, and destruction of forests, that have put a gut in the wood market, not Taxes or Regulations that have caused the problems and ceased the logging industry in Montana to expand!

              By your own very republican hands of greed you are killing the timber industry and driving down the prices of wood, for the oil industry! Supply and demand! Their is no demand for oil, it is an artificial price hike by Wall Street, and the middle east! and now there is little or no demand for Timber in the United States because of Canada, shredding the forests for oil. Good job on destroying Jobs in America again!

              Has the Bush years, taught you anything!

                • I am not sure I buy all the conclusions of the author, but I do support the new air quality regulations being discussed. This was obviously a biased article written by someone with an axe to grind, but much of what he said is valid.

                • You rock, Lynn: keep it up.

              • Norma, are you honestly trying to convince us that there is no demand for oil or oil products?

                • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | April 2, 2012 4:56 PM at 4:56 PM |

                  Yep It is pretty darn close to that. Like it was said, in previous threads before, almost all of the gulf regions need more dollars per barrel to run their own country’s and have started paying their people larger oil checks to keep them from retuning to any Arab spring and rioting. Most of those countries are now asking a hundred a barrel of crude. Russia will not take less then 110 and it is the biggest oil producer now in the world! Your not gonna see oil prices get very musch lower folks and their is absolutely no way for their ever to be again Gas sold at two dollars a gallon.

                  ♦Julian Jessop, chief global economist at Capital Economics, said the group was nudging its price forecasts to reflect recent price resilience and the brighter outlook for the U.S. economy. However, he said: ‘ we continue to expect the cost of a barrel of Brent to end this year below $100 (at $95), and to fall further (to $85) next year’.
                  Gordon Kwan, head of energy research at Mirae Asset Management in Hong Kong, expects the upward pressure on prices to ease (2 March). He said that a period of warmer weather in Europe would reduce demand – and that current prices may not reflect supply and demand fundamentals. ‘Brent could fall back below $120 if Iran doesn’t flare up’, he said.

                  ♦Gerrit Zambo, trader at Bayerische Landesbank in Munich, said (1 March) Brent crude could rise to $127 a barrel due to the latest developments in Iran. The threat to supply from a possible Israel and U.S. led attack on Iran has pushed prices higher despite sign of increased supply. ‘With the background of Iran, oil investment certainly looks like a good investment these days’, Zambo said. ‘From a fundamental point of view, prices should be much lower. There’s at least $15 priced in from the Iran factor.’

                  ♦The world’s largest independent energy trader warned (21 February) that oil prices could surge this year to a record high due to growing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. Ian Taylor, chief executive of Vitol, said his main scenario envisaged oil prices remaining at ‘around current levels for the balance of 2012’, but warned it was possible that the oil price could surge to $150. ‘It is unlikely, but it is possible,’

                  Read more:

                  Aberta Canada’s Sunco tar sands Operarion has been in production since 1967. and the prices of Log wood from Canada is has always been considerably lower then our log wood costs for years.

                  Hell, during the baby boom of the eighties, I know that our wood market was close to 20% Canadian, I am sure since the price of logs is still cheaper then the USA, its got to be close to 50% of our market now. Our Pacific northweat Export( where you worked in Lumber) log prices remained high until 1997 when Japanese demand collapsed as a result of the Asian financial crisis. Between 1997 and 1998, in the Pacific Northwest alone Douglas-fir prices fell by almost half to $639 per thousand board feet. Since we were the main supplier of wood trade to Japan their resulting financial crisis closed many a mill in the USA. We have yet recovered ourselves enough to make it back. leaving Canada an open door to those markets.


                  • There is no free market for oil. Wall Street speculation plays a huge role in the outrageous price changes. Where’s your savior Obama to properly regulate derivitives trading and bring us closer to a free market for oil and gas? Nowhere to be found after all those Wall Street campaign contributions.

                    Democrats would be wise to wake up to Obama’s corruption. Republicans would be wise to realize it’s not “socialism,” it’s corruption.

  3. Performance Audit
    Board of Oil and Gas Conservation Regulatory Program
    Board of Oil and Gas Conservation
    A Report to the Montana Legislature
    Legislative Audit Division
    September 2011

    Here are some highlights:

    Inspection – page 14:
    -58% of active wells have not been inspected in at least five years.
    -Four wells were inspected more than 20 times.
    -20% of wells with an identified inspection deficiency or violation did not get a follow-up inspection.

    Documentation-p 17
    -Forty-eight percent of inspection forms did not cite the administrative rule the operator violated.
    -Forty-four percent of inspection forms did not note the date the operator was notified of noncompliance.
    -Eighty-one percent of inspection records did not contain a photo of the noncompliance.

    Enforcement – page 22:
    35 percent of noncompliance issues recorded on the division’s information system have not been resolved.

    We need less regulation? when we start seeing the regulations followed and enforced, then maybe we can start to talk about which ones to get rid of.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | April 1, 2012 9:51 PM at 9:51 PM |

      Not to worry. When Livingscam becomes guv, his DEATH SQUADS will change minds! HEY, it’s just all part of revolution according to neil! Oh sure, it’s an odious part, but a necessary part! BHWHWHAHAHAHAHAHAAA! I’m thinkin’ that Livingscam will remove any regulations on death squads. That’s a start!

      • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | April 2, 2012 7:57 AM at 7:57 AM |

        I’m thinkin’ that Neil and his trained seal could start with wastin’ any dude with an old I-137 bumper sticker on their cars! That way, his death squads won’t have to work too hard to identify the commies! But one caveat, Neil and seal. Be SURE to ask the dude first just HOW long they’ve owned that car! Don’t want’a be wastin’ wackos needlessly, right!


        Did I mention that Livingscam has his OWN private CIA??? Death squads. Sure they’re odious, but there necessary! Right, neil?

    • All part of the GOP plan, any laws they can’t gut they prevent the state government from enforcing properly by slashing their funding.

  4. What do you want to breathe…brown air or invisible air?

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | April 2, 2012 7:51 AM at 7:51 AM |

      BROWN AIR, DUDE! You see, I like to think of it as whole WHEAT air, Blizz! It’s kinda like ruffage in the air! Cleans the ol’ lungs right out! And makes for the nicest lung cookies! HAWK A LOOGIE! Right, dude?

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | April 2, 2012 8:13 AM at 8:13 AM |

      Anyone who has studied Latin America history has known this for a long time. The similarities are striking, ESPECIALLY the fact that he same people who destroyed Latin America are still in power!

      The corporate fascists have NO allegiance to this country at all. Been that way for many years now. And why do you think that evey Repukelican running for guv is trying to outpimp the other! And hell, we even have Mr. Death Squad running too! What could be more American, LATIN American?

  5. EPA urged to expose North Dakota flaring as major source of greenhouse gas emissions: ThinkProgress.

  6. Oddly, both parties are ringing the same bell on this issue, stumbling over one another to be the most “pro-development.” Where do environmentalists register their concerns? The GFY Party?

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | April 2, 2012 8:20 AM at 8:20 AM |

      HEY, dipshit, you’re still waiting for the cavalry, Buttinski! Well it ain’t comin’, dude for there IS not cavalry except you! And I haven’t noticed you any place I went over the last twenty years!

  7. Bakken crime wave driving gun sales, fear: NorthDecoder.

    • Larry, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would try to say that crime in the Bakken region hasn’t risen. It is part and parcel of the boom there. Many news stations have covered it and have been covering it for a while now. Even national news outlets have done stories about it.

      In truth, this kind of things ALWAYS happens when an area (especially a “small town” area) undergoes an economic boom. New jobs being created daily means the area needs people to move there and work. People have. The crime, prostitution, drugs etc follow the money. If you expected something different, you are being delusional. You are not usually delusional.

      Further, people are making money. If they wern’t, there wouldn’t be a market for the prostitution drugs and crime. Some people are making a KILLING. Local land owners (especially those that rent property) are making more money now then they have in the last 10 years. Again, this is an expected outcome from what is going on there. It will eventually stablize but it will be a while before that happens.

      Is it worth it? Depends on who you ask. For the property owner that subdivided his property and made more on just one parcel than he could have made a year ago on all of his property, HELL yes. For the small restaraunt owner that was considering closing his doors for lack of business last year, again, HELL yes. For those that have been displaced by the boom or those that have been negatively effected by the boom, probably not so much.

      I don’t claim to have all the answers here, either. The boom has given much needed jobs to many people – including people I personally know from Dillon. Is there a price for those jobs? Of course there is. It remains to be seen how we end up dealing with this. Historically, we Americans are not very good at looking at the “big picture”. This results in superfund sites like the Berkley pit. Will this situation end up a superfund site? Likely. I am not going to apologize for the damage being done in the area. Weigh that against people being able to feed their families comfortably for the first time in two years. Weigh that against a state economy being cash flush for the first time a long while. Weigh that against the governmental programs that won’t get canceled due to lack of funds.

      Yes, it might surprise you that I agree that this boom will likely be detrimental to the environment. I also know that it IS beneficial to a whole lot of people. A balance hasn’t been struck. What I will say – catagorically – is that trying to deny the benefits of the situation is just as stupid as trying to deny the possible damage.

      • “Will this situation end up a superfund site? Likely.”

        No. Petroleum sites such as the Bakken are specifically excluded from CERCLA (the Superfund law).

  8. FrackNation coming to Glendive: MT Policy Institute.

  9. Sen. Tester calls for aid to oil-stricken county infrastructures: Sydney Herald.

  10. “Last week, Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., co-sponsored a bill that would double the length of grazing leases on federal land from 10 to 20 years.

    The Grazing Improvement Act of 2012 is needed, according to Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., because ranchers need protection from activists trying to block public-land grazing.” Rob Chaney, Missoulian.

    Stop the earth haters now!

    • This is, of course, in addition to his attempt to get the Forest Service and the BLM to lower their already rediculously low fees for use of public lands (luckily, that attempt fell flat as a pancake).

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