Thousands of snow geese were burned and poisoned to death when they landed in a Montana mine tailings lake filled with acid and toxic metals.
The 700-acre Berkeley Pit is a massive crevice left behind from nearly 30 years of copper mining. It filled up with water 900 feet deep, which then accumulated toxic levels of inorganic compounds including arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, copper, iron and zinc. The water is as acidic as distilled vinegar, strong enough to liquefy the steel propeller of a motorboat.
The pit is a Superfund site and also a tourist attraction, where people pay $2 to see the toxic, reddish water. It has also become renowned as a location to study extremophiles, microorganisms that can persist in conditions toxic to most life.
Flock of unprecedented size
The Pit is maintained by mining companies Montana Resources and Atlantic Richfield, which since 1995 have been responsible for preventing birds from landing in the toxic lake. In late November, an off-duty Montana Resources employee called to notify Berkeley Pit staff that a flock of about 25,000 snow geese was in the air about 25 miles away. Continue reading »
“Time to break out your splitboard or get your hike on, because it’s been puking at Big Sky Resort,” says snowboarder website.
“The iconic shred zone located just south of Bozeman, Montana is reporting over 16 inches (40 cm) of fresh snow at the top of Lone Peak and 12 inches (30 cm) of snow in the bowl, mid-mountain on Lone Mountain. The clouds have dissipated and the storm is moving along, but this is a great first start to the winter season for the resort. Big Sky is one of North America’s largest resorts with 34 lifts, 5,800 shredable acres, and 4,350’ vertical drop.”
Monsanto’s experimental genetically modified wheat has been discovered growing in the second US field in Montana, about a year after the discovery of the company’s unapproved crop growing in Oregon disrupted US wheat exports.
The plants were discovered at a test site at Montana State University, where back in 2000-2003 Monsanto was conducting field trials of its wheat, genetically modified to tolerate Roundup herbicide. Continue reading »
“This hardly ever happens in mid August – even for that location,” says reader Kenneth Lund. “Normally in August they get temps about 60/40.”
Tonight – Rain and snow showers likely, mainly before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. Calm wind becoming south southwest 5 to 9 mph after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of around 2 inches. Continue reading »
Billings Gazette, Nov. 18, 2013: Jared Jansen […] said, he and his father, Mike, have seen up to 100 dead deer at a time along the Musselshell River. […] die-offs have whittled the once hardy deer herds down to a handful […] “I’ve only seen three does this year. […] It used to be when I was haying along the river, early in the morning, I’d see 200 to 500 head in the meadows.” […] The names sound like something out of a science fiction thriller: epizootic hemorrhagic disease, sylvatic plague, bluetongue, brucellosis, chytrid, chronic wasting disease […] Yet the all-too-real afflictions threaten to reduce the populations of wild mammals, birds and reptiles across Montana, Wyoming and other regions […] “There is a general consensus among scientists that we are seeing more disease,” said Jonathan Sleeman, director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis. […] so many diseases afflicting such a wide variety of animals […] A study is being conducted in northwestern Montana to examine the possible causes […]
Congress held discussions to sell the National Parks during the government shutdown through the Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act, spearheaded by Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).
The sale would cover national parks in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, & Wyoming as a measure to “reduce the federal deficit.” We discuss the proposal on this Buzzsaw news clip with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace.
What is so interesting about Montana’s House Bill 603, which passed overwhelmingly the state Senate by a 96-4 margin, is that it was passed in April, or several months before Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. Talk about some foresight. Hopefully, we will see many more such bills sweep across the nation, as “change” will have to be done at the local level. The central government in D.C. is hopelessly corrupt and I don’t see that changing. We must just decentralize away from the District of Criminals on our own.
Privacy advocates, behold the Montana legislature and House Bill 603, a measure that requires the government to obtain a probable cause warrant before spying on you through your cell phone or laptop. HB 603 was signed into law this past spring, effectively making Montana the first state to have an anti-spy law long before anyone heard of Edward Snowden. To be clear, HB 603 passed the state Senate overwhelmingly by a vote of 96-4 in April and was signed into law on May 6.
At the time, the law might have seemed extraneous, or even paranoid. But knowing what we know now, the law seems prophetic.The law is pretty straightforward—the government can’t spy on Montanans through their electronic devices unless they obtain a warrant: Continue reading »
Colorado, and apparently Texas (next) are being targeted with an attempt to set up a federal authority framework that will enable Secret Service agents (not just those guarding the president), and others of the U.S. Secret Service including uniformed division officers, physical security technicians and specialists, and other ‘special officers’, to arrest and remove an elected sheriff for refusing to enforce the law (or anyone breaking the law).The bills being introduced defines law as including any rule, regulation, executive order, court order, statute or constitutional provision.
Why are they doing this? Here’s why…
It would establish federal authority police powers in a State, enabling an enforcement arm reporting directly to the president (the Secret Service).
It would potentially lead to enabling the president / executive branch to theoretically override the actions and preventative measures that are now being taken by many States throughout the country who are trying to preserve 2nd Amendment gun rights and who are prohibiting the enforcement of unconstitutional law passed by Congress or pushed by executive order.
As some of you may know, a growing list of sheriffs (more than 340 so far) across the country have expressed that they will not enforce a Washington mandate that clearly violates the Second Amendment.
Many State laws to preserve gun rights are gaining momentum. States include Montana, Ohio, Kentucky, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Utah, and New Mexico.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Life will perish as the environment perishes 21st century ecological economist
Paul Craig Roberts
Only in science fiction can humans escape the consequences of destroying their own habitat. In Robert A. Heinlein’s Time Enough For Love, the “Great Diaspora of the Human Race” began “more than two millennia ago” and has spread to more than “two thousand colonized planets.” The once “lovely green planet” Earth is a slum planet barely able to support life where only the poorest live, Earth’s natural capital having been consumed over two thousand years ago. Humans have found the ability to rejuvenate themselves and to live almost endless lives, but they are unable to rejuvenate the planets whose natural capital they devour. Humans have not encountered “one race as mean, as nasty, as deadly as our own.” As homo sapiens use up the environments of colonized planets, “human intergalactic colony ships are already headed out into the Endless Deeps,” leaving their ruins behind them.
Near where the borders of Fergus, Musselshell and Golden Valley counties meet south of the Little Snowy Mountains, two billionaire Texas brothers have quietly collected more than 177,000 acres of ranch land in the last two years.
But that’s only a portion of the property that Farris, 60, and Dan Wilks, 56, have accumulated in Montana. In all, they own more than 276,000 acres in seven counties in the eastern half of the state. That’s 431 square miles, more than half the size of Silver Bow County.
Owning such large amounts of land puts them in the big league of Montana landowners. Turner Enterprises, owned by former media mogul Ted Turner, has 149,000 acres in Montana holdings. It was announced last week that Stanley Kroenke, a billionaire who is married to a Wal-Mart heir, bought the 124,000-acre Broken O Ranch near Augusta that had been listed for $132 million. According to Forbes magazine, Kroenke also owns the Cedar Creek Ranch near Ennis and the PV Ranch near Hysham.
Jerry O’Neil, six-term GOP state representative in Montana, has asked to receive his salary (which at $10.33 per hour is around $1800 per month) in gold or silver. The long-standing legislator was driven to this decision by his constituents’ concerns about the nation’s massive debt-load and fears of our country’s collapse as “only so many dollars can be printed before they have no value.” The long-time Ron Paul supporter, according to Time, cited Article 1, Section 10 of the US Constitution, which says, in part, that “No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” State administrators have denied his request and added that “a bill could be introduced to accomplish this result.” O’Neil, like many other, believes “The Keynesian era of financing government with debt appears to be close to its demise.”
It is very likely the bottom will fall out from under the U.S. dollar. Only so many dollars can be printed before they have no value. The Keynesian era of financing government with debt appears to be close to its demise.
If and when that happens, how can we in the Montana Legislature protect our constituents? — The only answer I can come up with is to honor my oath to the U.S. Constitution and request that your debt to me be paid in gold and silver coins that will still have value when the U.S. dollar is reduced to junk status. I therefore request my legislative pay to be in gold and silver coins that are unadulterated with base metals.
A GOP state representative in Montana who asked to receive his salary in gold and silver coins has been rebuffed by the state’s Office of Legislative Services. Rep. Jerry O’Neil, who hails from the small town of Columbia Falls in the northwest corner of the state, sent a letter earlier this month requesting that his salary from here on in be paid in coins. Continue reading »
By 6:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, more than 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate secession petitions covering all 50 states, according to a Daily Caller analysis of requests lodged with the White House’s “We the People” online petition system.
Fourteen states are represented by at least two competing petitions. The extra efforts from two states — Missouri and South Carolina — would add enough petitions to warrant reviews by the Obama administration if they were combined into petitions launched earlier.
WASHINGTON: At least 20 US states have filed petitions to secede following the re-election of Barack Obama.
Following the re-election, several petitions surfaced requesting the Obama administration to peacefully grant the applied state to withdraw from the United States of America in order to create their own government.
Louisiana was the first state to file a petition followed by Texas.
States with secession-related petitions on the White House website now include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee.
LAUREL, Mont. (AP) — Federal documents show it took Exxon Mobil nearly twice as long as it publicly disclosed to fully seal a pipeline that spilled roughly 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the Yellowstone River.
Details about the company’s response to the Montana pipeline burst emerged late Tuesday as the Department of Transportation ordered the company bury the duct deeper beneath the riverbed, where it is buried 5 to 8 feet underground to deliver 40,000 barrels of oil a day to a refinery in Billings.
The federal agency’s records indicate the pipeline was not fully shut down for 56 minutes after the break occurred Friday near Laurel. That’s longer than the 30 minutes that company officials claimed Tuesday in a briefing with federal officials and Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
KALISPELL, Montana (Reuters) – Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer on Sunday questioned Exxon Mobil Corp’s contention that its oil pipeline spill into the Yellowstone River was concentrated within a 10-mile area.
Exxon said the spill, which occurred early Saturday near Billings, Montana, released into the river between 750 and 1,000 barrels of oil, which equals up to 42,000 gallons.
The company also has said the spill appeared to be concentrated within a 10-mile stretch of the river between Billings and the nearby town of Laurel.
But Schweitzer said the oil’s spread in the Yellowstone — which is the longest undammed river in the United States — could be more extensive.
“This is a lot of wild country, and they haven’t any idea whether it’s 5 miles, 50 miles or 100 miles, they’re guessing,” Schweitzer, a Democrat, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
An ExxonMobil pipeline running under the Yellowstone River in south central Montana ruptured late Friday, spilling crude oil into the river and forcing evacuations.
The pipeline burst about 10 miles west of Billings, coating parts of the Yellowstone River that run past Laurel — a town of about 6,500 people downstream from the rupture — with shiny patches of oil. Precisely how much oil leaked into the river was still unclear. But throughout the day Saturday, cleanup crews in Laurel worked to lessen the impact of the spill, laying down absorbent sheets along the banks of the river to mop up some of the escaped oil, and measuring fumes to determine the health threat.
FILE – In this June 14, 2011 file photo, the Fort Calhoun nuclear power station, in Fort Calhoun, Neb., is surrounded by flood waters from the Missouri River. The pictures of a Nebraska nuclear power plant were startling: Floodwaters from the swollen Missouri River had risen nearly to the reactor building, with the potential to climb even higher.
A Montana Republican has introduced a bill that would create a volunteer armed militia called a “home guard,” that would answer directly to the governor or local sheriffs during emergencies.
State Rep. Wendy Warburton (R) introduced House Bill 278, which she said was “just about local volunteers being prepared in case of emergency to support the National Guard, support the sheriff, support the governor as needed,” the Associated Press reports.
The governor would be required to “recruit, mobilize, administer, train, discipline, equip, and supply the organized militia,” which the AP estimates would cost the state $45,000 a year.
Legislators in at least ten states have introduced bills in the past few years to allow state commerce to be conducted with gold and silver.
As we reported, Georgia state Rep. Bobby Franklin (R) recently reintroduced legislation to force his state to conduct all monetary transactions with U.S. gold or silver coins — including the payment of taxes.
The United States Constitution declares, in Article I, Section 10, “No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts”. But, in fact, EVERY state in the United States of America DOES make some other “Thing” besides gold and silver coin a “Tender in Payment of Debts” — some “Thing” called “Federal Reserve Notes.” Thus the need for the “Constitutional Tender Act” — a bill template that can be introduced in every state legislature in the nation, returning each of them to adherence to the United States Constitution’s actual legal tender provisions.
Five years ago, the city government of Hardin, Montana decided to build a large jail — 144,000 square feet, 464 beds — in an attempt to capitalize on the detention boom. A development agency called the Two Rivers Authority (TRA) was created; it issued $27 million in bonds to pay for the project.
Several months ago, the TRA negotiated a deal — the details of which remain secret — with a private security firm called American Police Force (APF), which was incorporated in Santa Ana, California last March.
In addition, APF promises to shower the city will all kinds of amenities — computers for the local schools, donations to the local food bank, tricked-out cars for the local police force…. Whoops, did I mention that last item out loud?
Hardin has no police force; it receives police coverage through the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office. So it caused a stir last Thursday when APF officials arrived in Hardin in grand style — a convoy of black Mercedes SUVs bearing the logo of a non-existent “City of Hardin Police Force.”
The APF hired Becky Shay, a reporter from the Billings Gazette who had covered the story of the Hardin jail, as its new spokesperson (for the enviable salary of $60,000 a year). It also began negotiating an employment deal with mayoral candidate Kerri Smith. Her husband, Greg Smith, is the Executive Director of the TRA and the fellow responsible for working out the deal with APF. Greg Smith was immediately put on “administrative leave” and has effectively disappeared. (He didn’t answer messages I left at his business telephone number.)
Local residents are understandably curious about this mysterious private “security firm” that appears to be taking over their town.
There was initial speculation that American Police Force (the organization’s website conveniently went dark as this story broke) is a tentacle of the mercenary firm once known as Blackwater and now called Xe (pronounced “Zee”). A press spokesperson at Xe informed me that she had never heard of APF before news broke of recent developments in Hardin.
The Obama administration is raising the stakes in a fight over states’ rights and firearm ownership by arguing that new pro-gun laws in Montana and Tennessee are invalid.
In the last few months, a grass-roots, federalist revolt against Washington, D.C. has begun to spread through states that are home to politically active gun owners. Montana and Tennessee have enacted state laws saying that federal rules do not apply to firearms manufactured entirely within the state, and similar bills are pending in Texas, Alaska, Minnesota, and South Carolina.
Yet the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Explosives now claims that that not only is such a state law invalid, but “because the act conflicts with federal firearms laws and regulations, federal law supersedes the act.”
Tennessee’s law already has taken effect. The BATF’s letter on July 16 to firearms manufacturers and dealers in the state says “federal law requires a license to engage in the business of manufacturing firearms or ammunition, or to deal in firearms, even if the firearms or ammunition remain within the same state.”
A similar letter was sent to manufacturers and dealers in Montana, where the made-in-the-state law takes effect on October 1, 2009. Neither law permits certain large caliber weapons or machine guns, and both would bypass federal regulations including background checks for buyers and record-keeping requirements for sellers.
While this federalism-inspired revolt has coalesced around gun rights, the broader goal is to dust off a section of the Bill of Rights that most Americans probably have paid scant attention to: the Tenth Amendment. It says that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Read literally, the Tenth Amendment seems to suggest that the federal government’s powers are limited only to what it has been “delegated,” and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1918 confirmed that the amendment “carefully reserved” some authority “to the states.” That view is echoed by statements made at the time the Constitution was adopted; New Hampshire explicitly said that states kept “all powers not expressly and particularly delegated” to the federal government.
Proposed bill slams Fed, allows payments in precious metals
Montana State Rep. Bob Wagner
A bill being considered in the Montana Legislature blasts the Federal Reserve’s role in America’s money policy and permits the state to conduct business in gold and silver instead of the Fed’s legal tender notes.
Montana H.B. 639, sponsored by State Rep. Bob Wagner, R-Harrison, doesn’t require the state or citizens to conduct business in gold or silver, but it does require the state to calculate certain transactions in both the current legal tender system and in an electronic gold currency. It further mandates that the state must accept payments in gold or silver for various fees and purchases.
While Wagner was unavailable for comment, the bill’s language clearly alleges the nation’s current financial system, with its reliance on the private Federal Reserve system for money supply, is a danger to American freedom.
“The absence of gold and silver coin, whether in that form or in the form of an electronic gold currency, as media of exchange,” the bill states, “abridges, infringes on and interferes with the sovereignty and independence of this state … and exposes this state and Montana citizens, inhabitants and businesses to chronic problems and potentially serious crises that may arise from the economic and political instability of the present domestic and international systems of coinage, currency, banking and credit.”
World’s only private resort for billionaires goes bankrupt
World’s only private ski and golf resort for billionaires, Yellowstone Club (Montana, USA), has gone bankrupt. The club, which has Microsoft founder Bill Gates among its members, is unable to call in its credits, RIA Novosti reports. The company, which serves billionaires, has thus failed to withstand the financial crisis.
The most expensive and luxurious resort in Montana has filed for bankruptcy on account of its debts evaluated at $343 million. The debts had been saved as a result of the aggressive expansion politics and an intention to build additional offices in Scotland, Mexico and on the Caribbean islands.
Yellowstone is the location of the most expensive house in the world – the estate of logging tycoon Tim Blixseth worth $167 million. Blixseth founded the club in 1999. The resort has “cheaper” offers too – priced from 4 to 16 million dollars.