cyanide leach mining,    Environment,    montana nutjobs,    montana stream access,    rock creek gold mine

"Welcome to Montana: The Nutjob Legislator State"

Posted by Tom Chandler 2/21/2011

Montana has occupied the attention of a sizable chunk of the online fly fishing community as of late - the by-product of an anti-stream-access bill, and news of a potential gold mine on Montana's famed Rock Creek.

The worst news?

That's not the worst news.

First, let's dispense with the stupidity we already know about.

WillFishForWork was among the first to publish news of the Rock Creek gold mine issue (read more here at the Missoulian newspaper), and several Montana blogs have also done good work following the stream access issue, even engaging in actual reportage (especially the resurrected Chi Wulff).

They've done a good job mobilizing fly fishing's blogosphere, and while kudos are in order, further vigilance is required.

Because we're not done yet.

The Overlooked Bad News: Cyanide Leach Mining Rises From Dead

One Montana Senate bill (SB 306) is attempting to do what Montana's voters have already said shouldn't be done: revive highly toxic cyanide leach mining in the state.

Montana's voters overwhelmingly said "no" to cyanide leach mining in a pair of referendums, and yet - like the zombies who never die, but rise from the grave to eat the brains of the living - a bill comes along to create loophole you could drive an Abrams tank through.

The bill would encourage the creation of more open-pit mines in the state, and allow the ore to be shipped to one of a handful of mines for "processing."

In other words, it's more bad news for Montana's streams and rivers, which - based on the figures I've seen recently - mean far more to the economy than extractive industries.

I'll try to stay current on this one, though anyone with more connections in Montana might want to prod the thing with a pointed stick to see what's happening.

That said, we've gotta ask: What's with this tidal wave of bad news from Montana? Sadly, the answer is...

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

All of the above is the result of the recent elections, which were decided supposedly on the campaign promises of more jobs for the state.

As near as anyone can tell, the legislation introduced is having the opposite effect, and a lot of it is frankly of the Black Helicopter variety.

Sure, every state has its share of nutjobs, but the western states seem uniquely equipped to vote them into the office, leading to a tidal wave of moronic (and non-job-related) legislation like these currently infesting the Montana legislature (from the Montana Cowgirl blog):

This is not a joke. These are real bills, and they are currently taking priority in the Montana legislature. Enjoy.

Welcome to the land of nutters, the Montana Legislature.

  • Legalize hunting with hand-thrown spear (Senate Bill 112)

  • Create fully-armed militia in every town (House Bill 278)

  • Create an 11 person panel with authority to nullify all federal laws (House Bill 382)

  • Eliminate educational requirements for persons seeking job of State Superintendent of Schools (HB 154)

  • Withdraw the United States of America from the United Nations (Senate Joint Resolution 2)

  • Omit Barak Obama's name from the 2012 ballot because his father was born outside of America (House Bill 205)

  • Give sheriffs authority over the federal government in terror investigations (Senate Bill 114)

  • Require the federal government to prove in court that the National Parks were lawfully acquired. (House Bill 506)

  • UPDATE: 18. Declare that global warming is good. (House Bill 549)



I'd love to shake my head sadly and - striking a faintly superior note - suggest it's too bad Montana has fallen into the grip of those who believe they were once abducted by aliens, but we're facing pretty much the same level of inane behavior right here in Siskiyou County, whose Board of Supervisors would vote to secede from the union if we wouldn't lose the bags of federal money that flow into our county each year.

In Montana's case, I'm tempted to suggest that its heavily pestered trout have attained a higher level of intelligence than many of its legislators, who seem far less choosy about what they'll bite off.

See you at the loony bin, Tom Chandler.

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

13 comments
With the backlash against Obama on election day, last November, the Republicans took firm control of both the house and senate chambers in Montana. I've lived here for 28 years, and I've never seen a more out-of-control bunch of legislators. Montanans had already passed two initiatives to ban cyanide leach-pit mining, but these guys don't care. Water is our most precious resource you knucklehead legislators!! ... more If it weren't for the fishing, I'd consider moving.
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Kentucky Jim has hit on an important point. Although much of this "legislation" is obviously rooted in the manure of some sort of extremist "don't tread on us" mentality (but, spear throwing?), the practical eventuality is that lawyers will make mountains of money on each of these bills, on both sides of the issue (if there were three sides to an issue, lawyers would argue all three). So, I suppose ... more you could make a case that there ARE "make jobs" bills, except that the jobs will be for lawyers. I'm glad I'm old. My children face a tough row to hoe.
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[...] TC at TroutUnderground unearthed yet another nugget of infinite wisdom from the shallow shafts of the Montana legislatures mine of useless bill creation. The not-so original SB 306-AN ACT CLARIFYING THE PROHIBITION OF CYANIDE HEAP AND VAT LEACH OPEN-PIT GOLD AND SILVER MINING; AND AMENDING SECTION 82-4-390, MCA.” [...]
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I have nothing original to add at this late hour. I'm overwhelmed. I do like Dan's remark. But requiring the federal government to prove that the National Parks were lawfully acquired seems like an excellent way to spend money when we are told that the budget (Montana's, the federal government's, California's, whoever's) must/will be cut. How much we gonna spend on the lawyers for that? Is anybody ... more in charge up there? aimless rambling here deleted.
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Dan: Keep up the good work Montana.You make California look more normal. And frankly - considering some of the legislation I've seen here in CA - that's saying a lot.
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Good luck. They'd better be big squirrels.
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Keep up the good work Montana. You make California look more normal.
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Does Montana get too much sun, maybe?
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I note you missed one small glimmer of sanity in the blinding glow of insanity. HB 382 would appoint an 11-person committee to take action. That's downright brilliant, as that large a committee could never accomplish anything except distracting 11 idiots who might otherwise cause trouble individually. (Committee: n. An entity with 22 legs and no brain.) Also, the "global warming is good" thingie may ... more apply specifically to Montana, as their near-frozen tundra may soon become attractive beachfront property. You never know; crazy like a fox?
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Amusing comment from the Montana Cowgirl blog: This is embarrassing. We here in Utah have always had the corner on legislative nut jobs. We're slipping.
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TC, your shout on the issue is much appreciated. We're headed to the Amazon tomorrow to capture a scurry of giant Amazonian squirrels to see if they can't help thin out some of the nutjobs in Helena.
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[...] to much appreciated mentions from TC at The Trout Underground and from the gang at Moldy Chum we’re having a few new friends stop by to read about HB 309 [...]
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While it seems, these days, that the term "nutjob legislature" is redundant, Montana does seem to be living up to it. Sad, sad, sad.
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