Falsehood and fiction. Both of these factors were driving forces at work during the recent Missoula City Council meeting when a resolution was passed in regards to oversized shipments passing through Missoula. It was a misguided attempt at politics as usual, making the Kearl shipping project's jobs and growth political pawns. It's difficult for me to comprehend the prevalent misunderstanding of this project when the facts are straightforward.
First of all, the Kearl project will not cost local residents a dime. The corporations leading the project have already seen to that by posting a bond, which will cover any damages or liability brought about by the shipments. The false notion that the project would incur damages to Missoula and leave the bill for people in our community motivated the city council still to pass a resolution, double charging truck shipments. In doing so, Missoula has threatened the many industries in our state that rely on oversized shipping everyday to move their goods.
Furthermore, opponents have centered their arguments on falsehoods about the safety of the shipments. Truth be told, no hazardous materials or chemicals will even be transported, just equipment. And for the last two years, planning has been in progress to identify the safest, most appropriate route for moving this machinery, while providing the least disruption to the community and the environment. To do this, state police will escort the shipments at all times, making sure that the trucks pull over every fifteen minutes to let cars pass.
Another falsehood is that these shipments are "mega loads." Yet, they are under the legal weight restrictions required by the state, so our roads will have no trouble handling the loads. The reality is the shipments are very similar to a mobile home or other oversize load that would be transported according to the same rules—but the accompanying investment in infrastructure and safety is unique.
Currently, Montana's economy is stalled and in need of an investment like the Kearl project to generate jobs and economic growth. The $67 million in economic activity that the project would bring to Montana is very real. Unfortunately the opposition to these valuable shipments remains grounded in myths.
As a volunteer for the Flathead County Animal Shelter I am encouraging those who are interested in bringing a new pet into their home to please consider adopting a homeless cat or dog from the local shelter.
As described in recent articles, the shelter is currently in crisis amode due to the overabundance of homeless dogs and cats. Many of these homeless pets are already house-trained/litter box trained, know basic obedience, have been around other pets or children and understand how to be a member of the family. All animals adopted from the Shelter have been spayed/neutered, microchipped and vaccinated.
To help promote finding forever homes for these pets, the shelter is currently offering a 50 percent reduced adoption fee for all black colored pets and senior pets. The Shelter is located at 225 Cemetery Road, south of Kalispell, and it's open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shelter's phone number is 752-1310 and website is www.flathead.mt.gov/animal.
Please go online to see the shelter's current adoptable pets.
It's like a Hollywood disaster movie playing out right here in front of us: Following dire warnings by the hero and heroine of the impending consequences, the audience knows that the denials and decisions by the arrogant officials will prevail, and the horrific catastrophe will proceed as planned by the film producer.
It's obvious that the oversized rigs should travel through Canada on Canadian roads. It's their tar sands, not ours in the United States. If the Billings shipments are necessary, they should continue their previous route from the south. After all, they've already allowed their roads to be damaged. Of course there would be no movie plot if the autocratic characters had the good taste to heed the knowledgeable protestors.
The earth has never before seen destruction on this large a scale. Gigantic machines of mass destruction might be crammed through the pristine valleys of the last best place by a monstrous corporation historically incapable of compassion for the earth or its inhabitants.
Word has it that there will not be but 200 of these huge earth raping machines—thousands more will follow. It is our responsibility as the current caretakers of this place to stand up and fight—as Davids against the Goliath.
The tar sands should be left alone for now—until better answers are found. We can surely wait a while longer; Exxon can wait a while longer—that reserve is going nowhere.
Please contact Gov. Brian Schweitzer at 406-444-3111 or firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know how it important it is to stop and think. Simply say: "Please help stop Exxon because haste makes waste," and he'll get the idea.