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Whose preference? The People's preference or the Government's preference?

I attended the the Superfund Advisory and Redevelopment Trust Authority meeting Tuesday (01/12/2016) where I was advised by the City-County officials In a Public Form that the preference of the CEO's selected Site Selection Committee was the Pole Plant. Capital costs would be about $11.5 million and annual operating expenses would be about $650,000.  

Informative Public Forms are good but Public Participation in the decision making process is even better.

I question the legality of the procedure that is being used to determine the relocation of the City-County Shop. The “what” and “where” are policy decisions. The B-SB City-County Charter clearly stipulates that the Council of Commissioners shall determine policy. Further more the B-SB- City-County Charter mandates that the Council of Commissioners is to authorize Community Councils to advise the Council of Commissioners. Therefore any consideration, and/or decision made by the Council of Commissioners relative to the movement of the City-County Shop is most probably not legal until the Community Council provision of the City-County Charter is fulfilled.   

What is your Opinion?

Ed Banderob

2601 Grand Ave., Butte MT

An Open letter from Butte's chief executive to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

From Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive, Matt Vincent

Dear Fellow Southwest Montana Community Leaders, Recreationists and Conservationists:

I want to bring to your attention what appears to be a major oversight by our Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in its "15 and Forward" Listening Sessions to be held across the state of Montana (link here:

To quote the agency:

"’15 and Forward is a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks initiative to evaluate our vision and goals, which will help FWP set priorities for the next 10 years. This is something we must do periodically to be effective as our challenges and opportunities change, and it’s been nearly two decades since FWP last took such a comprehensive look...What you have to share is critical to this evaluation process. FWP would like to understand if we are meeting your needs, what we can do to serve you better, and hear your thoughts on FWP priorities for the next 10 years. Your input will be an integral part of identifying programs and services that are most valuable and relevant." 

As you will see by following the link above, FWP is hosting listening sessions in all of Montana's major cities and also in Lewistown, Fort Peck and Miles City. They have either forgotten or chosen not to schedule one of these sessions in Butte, or in any other community that could be reasonably considered representative of Southwest Montana (i.e. Dillon, Anaconda, Deer Lodge, Philipsburg). My assessment is that this oversight by our FWP, whether intentional or not, sends the message that listening to the sportsmen and women and conservationists/recreationists of Southwest MT is not as “integral” or “critical” as the rest of the communities in which it is hosting live listening sessions. Best case, the agency expects the significant number of us from Butte and our surrounding SW MT communities to either chime in on-line or travel to Bozeman, Helena or elsewhere to listen and make comments.  I hope you will join me in my message to FWP that THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE.

Butte and Southwest Montana has a higher than average number of hunters and anglers compared to other areas of the state; our region is home to some of the state's best big game hunting and hosts many of the most fished water bodies including the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers, Georgetown Lake and Clark Canyon reservoir. Additionally, we have a number of wildlife management areas and state parks, and the conservation history of our area is second to none, as we boast some of the Rocky Mountain U.S.'s oldest chapters of Trout and Ducks Unlimited as well as the Skyline and Anaconda Sportsmen Associations, the Big Hole River Foundation, the Big Hole and Jefferson Watershed Committees and the Upper Clark Fork Basin Steering Committee. Again, this oversight is UNACCEPTABLE and we must respectfully insist that FWP schedule a listening session in Butte to represent an equal opportunity for the citizens of Southwest Montana to listen and respond to the FWP's 15 and Forward initiative. Please voice your concerns directly to FWP Director, Jeff Hagener at 444-2535 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alternatively, as FWP administration is cc’d on this message, feel free to “reply all” if you are in support of the request to have a meeting scheduled in Butte for the “15 and Forward” listening sessions.

Thank you for joining me in this call to action on behalf of the sportsmen/women and the conservation communities of Southwest Montana! Please feel free to pass this email along to anyone I may have missed and to contact me at this email address or at 406-497-6220 if you have questions. You can also find a signed pdf file attached to this message.



Matt Vincent,

Chief Executive

Butte-Silver Bow City-County


Sen. Daines Betrays Montana Outdoors Lovers

Writing Outdoors
by Paul Vang
for ButteNews.Net
April 20, 2015

Back in 1994, Congress passed a bill putting a temporary ban on the sale of assault-type rifles. It was a good law and it’s too bad that the law had a sunset provision, leading to the current proliferation of ugly, high capacity rifles that seem better suited to uses other than hunting.

Montana’s senior senator, Max Baucus, voted for that bill.

While that vote was likely in line with the sentiment of most Montana citizens, there was a definite reaction from some, leading to a proliferation of pickup trucks carrying “Ban Baucus” bumper stickers.

All those Ban Baucus bumper stickers made an impression on Max, and for the rest of his career in the Senate he went out of his way to stay in the good graces of the National Rifle Association.

Now, the question is whether Baucus’s successor in that senate seat, Steve Daines, learned anything from that example.

Unless you’ve been out of the country, you no doubt are aware that in the last week of March the United States Senate voted 51 to 49 to support an amendment to a nonbinding budget resolution to sell or give away all federal lands other than national parks and monuments.

That vote just happened to fall along the usual party lines, with 51 Republican senators voting for it and 49 Democratic senators voting against it. Our freshman senator, Steve Daines, was among the 51 senators voting for that resolution. We might quibble as to whether Daines’s vote was the deciding vote, as many critics have said. More logically we could point the finger of blame at majority leader Mitch McConnell and majority whip, John Cornyn, of Texas.

Our federal public lands are valued by hunters, anglers, campers, and other recreationists. We use those lands for hunting and fishing. We drink water that comes from watersheds protected by forests that filter and preserve water flows. It’s more than a Montana thing. Every U.S. resident has a stake in those public lands, whether those lands are in Montana or Alaska or Florida.

Still, it is a Montana thing, as well. Montana citizens went to the State Capital in January to show support for our public lands and our unified opposition to a package of bills calling for a transfer of federal lands to the state. The Legislature, while controlled by Republicans, who made land transfer a part of their 2014 party platform, paid attention to the people and killed off all those bills.

Senator Daines evidently heard that message and in a February 18 speech to the Legislature said, “We must stand firm against any efforts to sell our public lands.”

Senator Daines was either lying when he made his speech to the Legislature, or didn’t have the fortitude to say “Nay,” to the senate majority whip. Either way, he has proved he is not a true friend of Montana’s hunters, anglers and others who use our federal public lands.

During the 2014 election campaign, the Daines campaign aired ads showing their candidate wearing an orange vest and carrying a rifle, ostensibly showing his support of hunting and firearms. Five months later, his campaign successful, he says, in effect, “Public lands? Who cares?”

Fortunately, that resolution was “non-binding,” so it’s not law. It does, however, illustrate policies that Republican senators plan to carry out in the current session of Congress.

The big question in my mind is whether Montana voters will remember, in 2020, how Steve Daines supported our public lands when he runs for reelection? If they run more campaign ads representing Daines as a hunter and fisherman, will we still be dumb enough to overlook that he’s a phony?

I suppose there’s always the chance that Sen. Daines will look on all this as a teachable moment, when he learned that Montana voters expect him to vote for Montana values, even if it means defying senate leadership, and he becomes a modern Teddy Roosevelt and a champion for conservation.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for that one.

A Daily update on the Berkeley Pit

Dear Editor, 
On Earth Day, April 22, 1982, The Atlantic Richfield Corporation now British Petroleum Company 
shut off the underground pumps at the Kelley Mine in Butte and started the mines and Berkeley Pit 
flooding. These are the current Berkeley Pit and Butte Mine Flooding statistics; 
Water in the Berkeley Pit is currently 1053’ deep
Water is within 194’ of reaching the top of the Pit at the Montana Resources Concentrator
Water is within 93’ of reaching the Critical Water Level in the Pit.
Water is within 72’ of reaching the Critical Water Level in the Anselmo Mine
Water has risen over seven feet per year since the resumption of mining in 2004.
It currently contains over 43 billion gallons of toxic water---Georgetown Lake contains 10.1 billion 
The Pit fills at a rate of between three to four million gallons of groundwater per day
3 to 4 million gallons of surface water per day is also used in Montana Resource operation and will 
eventually flow to the Pit
It is the largest contaminated body of water in the U.S.
It’s the deepest body of water in Montana
It’s the third deepest lake in the world, considering its connected to the Butte Mines
The depth of the water in the Kelley Mine is 4279’ deep
It is the largest mine flooding that has ever taken place in the world
It lies at the headwaters of the Clark Fork and Columbia River Basins
In 1995, 342 Canadian snow geese perished in the contaminated acidic mine water.
November 30, 2007---17 snow geese, 19 ducks, one swan found dead in Pit
The p-h of the water at some levels is less than 2, or worse than battery acid
Toxic water will totally dissolve a 40’ long railroad rail in less than two weeks
There are approximately 10,000 miles of tunnels underneath Butte. 9,474 reported by the Anaconda Co. 
in 1958
Yankee Doodle Tailing Pond is over 750’ deep and is possibly the deepest earth filled dam in the world. 
The elevation of the dam is now higher than Elk Park.
Current Montana Resources Reclamation Bond---$46,747,575
Three major slides have occurred in the Berkeley Pit since August 2012. A catastrophic slide in 
September 1998 on Southeast Wall of Pit raised water level 3',a slide in February 2013 raised the water 
level 1’
Major upgrades are necessary to the current Treatment Plant in order to successfully pump and 
discharge Berkeley Pit water.
Fritz Daily, Butte

Bundy and Attacks on our Public Lands

Paul Vang (Writing Outdoors) May 1, 2014

It’s too bad H. L. Mencken isn’t around anymore. A columnist for the Baltimore Sun, he covered the political scene the first half of the 20th Century, gaining fame for political commentary.

Mencken savored political theater. His coverage of the Snopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee was a high-water mark for his blistering news coverage. He came up with the label of “monkey trial,” for the trial, and coined the term “Bible belt” describing the rural south. In assessing the last days of William Jennings Bryan’s career he wrote, “It is a tragedy indeed to begin life as a hero and end it as a buffoon.”

I wonder what Mencken might write about the latest act of political theater, about “booboisie” gone wild, the spectacle of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who parlayed 20 years of non-payment of grazing fees into becoming the darling of Fox News and a hero to gun-totin,’ guvmint-hatin’ whackos who descended on the scene with hopes of instigating an all-out war with the federal government.

In case you’ve somehow missed it, maybe while burning midnight oil doing taxes, in 1993 Bundy took umbrage with a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) action to protect an endangered species, the desert tortoise. So, Bundy quit paying grazing fees. He didn’t quit running cows on public land, he just quit paying the rent he owes you and me.

BLM couldn’t just wink at that and started assessing fees and penalties (over $1.2 million) and hauled him into court. In 1998, a federal judge permanently barred Bundy from grazing cattle on protected federal land.

Finally, this spring, and 16 years following the judge’s ruling we can’t accuse BLM of rashly rushing into this, they started rounding up Cliven’s cows and running them off the public pasture.

This is when Bundy re-invented himself as a hero, making up all sorts of stories of not recognizing the federal government (not just jurisdiction but the government itself) and asserting some sort of rights going back to the 1880s when his forebears started running cows on the Nevada rangeland. He conveniently ignores Nevada’s 1864 constitution that specifically recognizes the primacy of federal ownership of public lands. Incidentally, a Las Vegas TV station reported that court records indicate that the Bundy family didn’t use the land in question until 1954.

When militia wannabees aimed sniper rifles at government cowboys, BLM backed off from the confrontation and let the cows out of the corrals. Observers suspect that when things quiet down BLM will again start collecting cows, and finish the job.

In the neighboring state of Utah, another meeting took place.  Billed as the “Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands,” the meeting, as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, featured Utah legislator Ken Ivory, head of an organization called American Lands Council and a Montana legislator, Jennifer Fielder (R-Thompson Falls). Ivory was in the news back in December, when he agitated for state takeover of Montana federal lands. Previously, he engineered a bill in the Utah legislature demanding transfer of federal lands to the State of Utah.

While the “Summit” was organized before the Nevada circus, Ivory used Nevada as a reason for transfer. “It’s simply time. The urgency is now.”

Two weeks ago, Montana legislator Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) and a candidate for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Steve Daines, issued a call for turning over Montana’s federal public lands to the State of Montana. None of the other four dwarfs contending for the Republican nomination joined him, though they almost stumbled over themselves trying to not say anything quotable.

So, there in a nutshell is the line of dots, running from Cliven Bundy in Nevada, to Ken Ivory in Utah, to politicians in Montana, all wanting to steal our pubic lands.

As to what H. L. Mencken might say about Bundy, Nevada rancher, liar and thief, and those politicians attacking our public lands, let’s try this for size, “A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”


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