Montana Political Links Roundup for 27 November 2014

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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  • RE: Audit Committee to hold secret meeting | “Nowhere in there does it say: “Except for when lawmakers want to discuss things in private,” or “except when it is inconvenient for public officials,” or “except for when people want to be free to have frank discussions or be free to ask embarrassing questions.” Of course the only way the public can observe deliberations of public bodies is if we know they are planning to gather, which is why the law requires the public be given sufficient notice of such meetings.” The Lowdown

    ——————

    Here’s the link to a copy of our lawsuit against the Governor Bullock and the DNRC over their secret meetings and process which resulted in 5 million acres of National Forest public lands in Montana being nominate for ‘fast track’ logging. http://forestpolicypub.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/WildWest-v-Bullock.pdf

    Keep in mind there was no public notice for any of these meetings organized by Governor Bullock and his Natural Resource Policy Advisor, Tim Baker [Note: Baker was previously the executive director of the Montana Wilderness Association and Baker’s wife is State Supreme Court Justice Beth Baker].

    There were NO minutes recorded and made publicly available for any of the meetings. NO agendas for the meetings were provided to the public before the meetings were held.

    Only one agenda was prepared for the first meeting, which was only provided to the public on April 14, 2014 in response to Plaintiffs’ public information request. The agenda for the first meeting reflects an initial intention to provide the decision or recommendation to the Governor by April 1, 2014 “after broader input/review,” but no such input or review was ever sought or obtained.

    NO opportunities were provided for the public – other than the few individuals selected for the collaborative group – to participate, or to submit data, views, or arguments before the group made its decision advising DNRC and the Governor of lands to nominate, or before DNRC and the Governor decided to nominate those lands.

    Finally, keep in mind that these 5 million acres of public National Forest lands nominated for ‘fast track’ logging through Governor Bullock’s secret, NO public notice, NO public input process will now be available for an unlimited number of 3,000 acre logging projects that are (according to the exact language of the Farm Bill) “Categorically excluded from the requirements of NEPA.”

    P.S. http://courts.mt.gov/content/library/docs/72constit.pdf

    Section 8. RIGHT OF PARTICIPATION. The public has the right to expect governmental agencies to afford such reasonable opportunity for citizen participation in the operation of the agencies prior to the final decision as may be provided by law.

    Section 9. RIGHT TO KNOW. No person shall be deprived of the right to examine documents or to observe the deliberations of all public bodies or agencies of state government and its subdivisions, except in cases in which the demand of individual privacy clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.

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