Montana Outdoors

April 28, 2007

Feeding your 800 pound gorilla.

Filed under: Arizona, California, Conservation, Environment, Politics — montucky @ 3:18 pm

What do you do to feed your 800 pound gorilla if it’s energy he wants? The present opinion seems to be “anything you can possibly imagine doing, no matter what the cost”.

If your gorilla is in L.A., you go get it from southeastern California and Arizona by trampling all over the Big Morongo Wildlife Preserve north of Palm Springs, Pioneertown near Yucca Valley, Pipes Canyon Wilderness Preserve and a corner of the San Bernardino National Forest as the L.A. Mayor wants to do as reported in this story in the LA Times.

“Wait”, you say, “you can’t do that”! But it seems that Federal Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman thinks you can.

As pointed out in this story, also in the L.A. Times, “Federal energy regulators Thursday singled out most of Southern California as an area in need of more high-voltage power lines and set in motion a process to make it happen — even if state officials balk.”

“Critics warned that the move could potentially gut local and state authorities’ control of the siting of the transmission lines, among the most controversial issues that state and local agencies address.”

“The action, authorized under a law signed by President Bush in 2005, puts power-short regions of the country “on a path to modernize our constrained and congested electric power infrastructure,” Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said in a statement.” “Under the Energy Department proposal, federal energy regulatory commissioners would have the right to overrule state and local regulators if the latter refuse to issue permits for transmission corridors on designated private lands, an Energy Department spokeswoman said.”

When intelligent beings in outer space (and I’m hoping there are some there because there apparently aren’t any here) look toward the Earth at night, and see what a fantastic picture on this NASA website shows, they must wonder why in the world we want to destroy all of the natural resources we have just to light up the night sky.

They probably also wonder why we don’t put our 800 pound gorilla on a very strict diet.

April 26, 2007

More on the Wilderness Bill H.R. 1975: opposition

When the new Wilderness Bill was announced, Montana’s only member of the House of Representatives, Denny Rehberg, immediately came out in opposition to it in a poorly worded, poorly organized and factually empty statement quoted in this story in the Missoulian: “I oppose this legislation because it’s a top-down approach that doesn’t properly take into account the impacts on the local economy. Nor does it adequately protect access for hunting, fishing and other forms of recreation,” Rehberg said in a statement. “I’ll continue to work to implement responsible policies to protect Montana’s natural resources.”

Is there perhaps more motivating his opposition to the bill than that simplistic statement implies?

In March, 2007, Rep. Rehberg held a fundraising event at, of all places, the exclusive Yellowstone Club near Big Sky Montana., which is owned by, as pointed out in this story in the Billings Gazette his friend Tim Blixseth. While some of us might have been able to scrape together $1,000 to attend the event, most of us couldn’t come up with the minimum price for a home there ($1,000,000) or even the $300,000 necessary to join their private country club.

Rep. Rehberg’s friend Blixseth is an interesting person. As mentioned in this story in the Missoulian titled “World’s most expensive home’ for sale in Big Sky”, Blixseth “built the ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club, a members-only ski and golf resort. Several years ago, he sold a 20-acre lot there for $20 million, at that time the most expensive housing lot in the state. He put the club together after buying 140,000 acres of scattered Plum Creek Timber Co. lands in 1992, then going through a series of land swaps with the U.S. Forest Service that consolidated both public and private holdings. Blixseth and his partners paid about $25 million for the Plum Creek properties, he has said”.

There was also an interesting story in the March 5, 2006 edition of the New York Times about the life and career of Tim Blixseth. It appears he is one of the highest-rolling developers in the world today. Here is that story.

Considering Rep. Rehberg’s ties to Blixseth, I am compelled to ask: is Rep. Rehberg motivated to support the preservation of Montana’s natural resources, or the exploitation of them? I am reminded again of the two sets of rules: one for the rich, and one for the rest of us. It is beginning to appear obvious which set of rules Mr. Rehberg has chosen to by play by.

It seems to me that the saving grace here is that Wilderness bill H.R. 1975 is neither in the hands of Denny Rehberg nor Tim Blixseth, really: it is now at the National level and in the hands of the American people. The natural resources that it would protect, while located in the five Western states, belong to everyone in America. Because it is at the National level, you all can play your own parts in this by voicing your opinions to the elected Representatives from your own states.

At the moment, it seems that Montana doesn’t seem to have anyone in the House to defend our natural resources. However, I think a vote of thanks should be given to its sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney from New York and all of the bill’s cosponsors from other states who can be seen listed here.

April 25, 2007

Wilderness Bill: A Washington resident’s viewpoint

I was delighted to see this post on Random Musings this morning.

aullori’s response is exactly what I wish we would see from people all over America who are concerned about our natural resources.

April 23, 2007

Wilderness bill

On Friday, 4/20/2007, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, H.R. 1975 was introduced in the 110th Congress. It will designate all of the inventoried roadless areas in the Northern Rockies as wilderness, giving them the government’s strongest protection. This is a total of 23 million acres of roadless area that would be protected forever under that designation. See this story in The Missoulian.

A week or so ago I discovered a great website, The Roadless Area Database which provides information about and maps of the roadless areas on U.S. Forest Service lands. It’s a fascinating and informative site for those who wish to see the proposed areas to be included. The information I found there about one of the areas I am very familiar with was very accurate. Earlier I made two posts referring to this area, Why, and The Coeur d’Alene Mountains: haven’t they suffered enough?.

You can find the Press Release and a 147 page PDF file containing the text of H.R. 1975 on this site: Wild Rockies Alliance.

I will reserve my comments for later on why I think Representative Denny Rehberg from Montana and Representative Barbara Cubin from Wyoming immediately came out in opposition.

Create a free website or blog at