Sunday, April 09, 2006

Brian Schweitzer takes an environmental stand

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has again taken a stand that pits him against the federal government and energy companies. With Montana's inglorious past where Republicans allowed corporate interests to do whatever they wished to land in the Big Sky Country in return for hefty campaign contributions and lobbyist jobs down the road, this is a nice and necessary change.
Montana Pollution Rules Draw Federal Objections

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 9, 2006; A04

Federal energy officials are opposing new rules by Montana to force companies that extract methane gas from underground coal beds to clean up the water pollution caused by drilling operations, even as state officials cite an unreleased 2003 federal report that says cleanup costs are relatively inexpensive.

The Denver office of the Environmental Protection Agency produced the report but never published it, saying it related to a proposed drilling application that was dropped.

A Montana consulting firm obtained a copy of the EPA report, however, and handed it over to Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D). Last month, Montana's Board of Environmental Review, citing the EPA paper and other economic studies, voted to force coalbed methane companies to leave the state's streams as clean as they were before drilling started, although the companies do not have to clean up existing pollution.

"We want to develop energy in Montana, but we want to do it right," Schweitzer said in an interview. "Here's the bottom line with the federal government: They're usually not helpful, and they weren't this time, either."
To read the rest. go here.


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