The outgoing presidential administration has just flipped the bird at Montanans with both hands. That's quite a feat. The first bird-flip is a new last-minute change to Forest Service policy that will make it easier for developers to turn forest land into housing subdivisions. The new rule is specifically designed to let Plum Creek Timber in Montana to pave 900 miles of roads through Forest Service land, which will open huge swaths of land owned by the company to luxury home development. (Think of the ecological carnage of cutting the trees for the roads, clearing the land for the homes, and the fuel burned by the people driving their Land Rovers out to these homes.) Bottom line, too, is that the people of Montana don't want it.
The second bird-flip is the administration's new decision to allow 18,000 natural gas wells to be drilled on 1.5 million acres of federall owned land in southwestern Montana.
"The Powder River Basin holds a type of natural gas known as coal-bed methane, which companies can extract only after pumping vast quantities of water from underground aquifers that trap the gas. That's the same water ranchers in the arid region depend on to irrigate fields and fill stock ponds."
Bushies to ranchers: sorry. Ooops, no we're not!