Montana environmental groups praise, decry Brian Schweitzer
Green group accuses Schweitzer of betraying the environment
By WALT WILLIAMS Chronicle Staff Writer
August 12, 2005
An environmental group battling Holcim Inc. over the company's plan to burn tires says that Gov. Brian Schweitzer is turning his back on protecting the environment.
To make its point, the Montana Environmental Information Center of Helena noted the state's recent decision allowing Holcim to continue using waste slag at its Trident cement plant while it waits for an environmental study to be completed.
The group also criticized Schweitzer, a Democrat, for an energy symposium he is hosting in Bozeman later this year, saying the conference is skewed toward nonrenewable energy.
So far, Schweitzer's record is hard to distinguish from that of his Republican predecessor, Gov. Judy Martz, who often clashed with green groups, Jim Jensen, MEIC's executive director, wrote in a column posted on the organization's Web site.
"The point is, in terms of the administration of government by (state) departments ... I can find little evidence of a 'new day,'" Jensen said in a phone interview, referring to the governor's catch phrase for his administration.
Schweitzer defended his environmental record in a phone interview Thursday.
He noted that his administration successfully pushed for laws requiring gasoline be blended with clean-burning ethanol and mandating that 15 percent of the state's energy come from renewable resources by 2015.
If there is any group that believes it's not important for the nation to be energy independent or to support clean coal emissions, "then I would like them to stop by because they are missing the point," he said.
For the rest (and do read the entire article to get the full spectrum of responses by the various environmental groups), go here.