Energy Environment Montana Politics The Media

Random Friday Notes


Coal News

Sitting on the tracks with their hands cuffed together inside a steel pipe, two environmental activists brought a 125-car coal train to a halt yesterday in Missoula. They were arrested after about an hour and the train proceeded to the West Coast. The event was organized by the Blue Skies Campaign and Northern Rockies Rising Tide. I thought this was news but apparently none of Missoula’s media outlets covered it.

What was in today’s paper, though, was a guest column from Colstrip Republican state senator Duane Ankney.  It’s about the “war on coal.”  I guess it’s a better slogan than “save the planet” in that neck of Montana.  Its focus, as always, is on the economic losses Montana would suffer if we took coal production out of the our energy portfolio.  My humble thoughts on this: instead of digging in our heels on the continued use of the dirtiest of fossil fuels, let’s get ahead of the curve and transition into a clean energy economy.  That means investing in worker training, conservation, and new production and delivery systems — in other words, long-term thinking in a short-sighted world.

Newspaper News

Ed Kemmick at Last Best News has a story on Lee Enterprises, owner of newspapers in Billings, Missoula, Helena, Butte and Hamilton, and the sale of its Napa, Calif., property for $5 million.  Other properties on the selling block are scattered around the Midwest.  Ed goes on to say, “The good news, if there is any, for now, is that no Montana properties are being sold by Lee.”  Depending on the buyer, I’m not sure this is good news.  How about employee-owned newspapers?

In other Lee news, two new state bureau reporters were hired to replace the down-sized Mike Dennison and Charles Johnson.

“It’s a more modern and reader-focused approach to covering state government,” said David McCumber, editor of The Montana Standard. “While the reporters will be in Helena when the Legislature is in session, they will be traveling the state the rest of the time, helping to set the state’s agenda with high-impact, multiplatform news coverage.”

I can’t wait to find out what “high-impact, multiplatform news coverage” is.  In the meantime, good luck Jayme Fraser and Holly Michels.  You’ve got big shoes to fill.

I’ve missed 4&20 Blackbirds writer jhwygirl but apparently she’s back.  She has a recent post up on the Republican debate.  Her newspaper-related post, a couple days earlier, made me howl with laughter.  I saw the Missoulian headline earlier that day and scratched my head. Since I didn’t give a damn about Germanfest, I didn’t follow the story but did wonder what “Black-condensed” had to do with the festival.  I finally guessed it was a message from an editor to someone doing layout in the composing room.  See it for yourself.




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    • Yeah, Swede, wind farms need to figure out a way to keep the eagles, and other birds, out of turbine blades. I don’t believe that’s an unsurmountable task. And of course, that damage is relative to the number of species we’re eliminating due to climate change and human over-population. I’ll leave you with this, from the AP:
      “Gunshots, electrocutions and poisonings almost certainly kill more bald and golden eagles than wind farms.”

  • What works in the AP’s favor is the fact that there’s no conceivable way to confirm eagle deaths from gunshots, electrocutions, and poisoning.

    Mark my words tho. If one coal train killed one eagle, hawk, bat or any other endangered fowl the proceedings would commence yesterday. Two loons in handcuffs taking a back seat to bloodied feathers.

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Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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