LETTER: Pandering for Votes

By Beacon Staff

Here we go again: Politicians pandering for votes to save their jobs. Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester have cut a deal with our British Columbia neighbors to stop coal mining in the Flathead river drainage of British Columbia.

Guess who will pay the ransom? That’s right, the taxpayers of Montana! Yes, the taxpayers of Montana are going to pay British Columbia not to mine coal. If this makes sense to Montana voters, I will be surprised!

I wonder how many Montana citizens know that the Canadians have been mining coal in the valley of the Elk River since 1905? For those of you who don’t know about the Elk River, it flows in a westerly direction beginning on the west slope of the Canadian Rocky Mountains to, would you believe, into our own beloved Koocanusa Reservoir, or as some of you may remember it to be the Kootenai River.

The Elk River is a beautiful free flowing mountain stream very similar to the Flathead River as we know it. The Elk River today has a very fine population of native cutthroat trout. The ducks thrive in this beautiful crystal clean river that is obviously not contaminated.

Please tell me how they could have mined coal in the valley of the Elk River for 105 years and not contaminated the water. Our politicians, however, are so desperate to buy enough votes to be reelected, they will tell the voters anything to secure their lucrative jobs. Yes, their jobs are lucrative, and yes, they are overpaid.

Think about it, 105 years of coal mining in the Elk River Valley and the river is running free, clear and teaming with native cutthroat trout. Not only that, but uncontaminated water is running into the state of Montana and has been forever. Our Canadian neighbors will be laughing at us as they did when they sold us the wolf!

Let us all keep a closer eye on the politicians. Remember, we’re paying their salaries.

Jerry Fisher

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