I copied and e-mailed this piece to Gloria Flora, the then Forest Supervisor of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, briefly mentioned in the article. Below is part of her reply.
Gloria took a lot of heat for that decision. For once, the extractive industries didn't get what they demanded. Not long after that, Gloria was transferred to Nevada as Supervisor of the Humbolt-Toyabe National Forest (a "disciplinary promotion", I think, because she dared to rock the boat).
Again, she ran afoul of the local bumpkins, when she had the temerity to close the last approximately mile of a dead end road to protect bull trout habitat. They raised hell and tore out the closure gate and threatened Forest Service personnel. Like the BLM in the Cliven Bundy case, the forestry circus backed down and refused to prosecute. Gloria was thrown overboard by her superiors in the circus, both U.S. senators (Harry Reid and the other at the time: Bryan or Bryant, I think his name was), and the U.S. attorney for Nevada. Thoroughly fed up, unsupported, disgraced, and no doubt disillusioned, Gloria resigned for the forestry circus, moved back to Montana, and founded the non-profit, Sustainable-Obtainable-Soutions (S-O-S)
I digressed. Here's an excerpt from Gloria's reply to my e-mail :
"We were never able to get the final leaseholders in the Badger-Two Medicine (B2M) to sell their leases, like we did on the rest of the Front. The B2M is the 130,000 acre northern piece of the RMF, adjacent to the Blackfeet Reservation. It is not covered by any protective status in the Heritage Act because the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council at the time was imploding and in general, the Blackfeet feel the B2M was stolen from them and they want it back. They fear any designation which may prevent that, thus are against wilderness designation and anything that smacks of it. However, they don’t want it developed, so after 20 years of work, we have been able to get the entire B2M designated as eligible for listing as a Traditional Cultural District.
"That said, we’re now supporting the FS and USDA in a court case promulgated by a leaseholder demanding to be allowed to drill in the B2M. He’s being represented by none other than the Mountain States Legal Foundation which has spawned the likes of James Watt and Gale Norton. So it ain’t over yet.
"One important note to conservationists everywhere. Pay attention to the designation of Conservation Management Area – it’s essentially the standards imposed by the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. We cap motorized use to the existing miles of open trail or road – after we ensured we got a really good travel plan. Pieces can be moved but miles not increased. This is a way to actually protect roadless areas (in perpetuity if you get it into law) but at a standard less than wilderness (mountain bikes, chain saws, etc. are allowed) with allowance for thinning or restoration work within ¼ mile of existing roads. We’re exploring using this designation in Forest Plans....CMA’s may be a backstop for WSA’s which are going to come under strong attack in MT (Daines has already indicated he wants them all released) and likely other states. No time to waste making sure we don’t let these lands drift back into exploitation."
It's very unfortunate that candidates not supported by this legal firm will most likely not be elected.
I'd like a detailed expose on this firm, and I'd like it on the front cover of an upcoming Independent.
Ignoring the philosophical justifications for an end user to have control of the basic requirements for sustaining their own life (in this case the end user is the Missoula community), tying the ultimate value of condemnation to a finite and arbitrarily determined 20 year bond measure is short-sided. The true value of Missoula owning its water supply needs to be weighed against community health/welfare benefits via improved quality standards and averaged over endless successive generations of the city's residents.
Butte-Silverbows water rate increase seems to have been community determined rather than imposed by some greedy profiteer. An increase in rates will not only allow infrastructure and water quality upgrades in a more timely manner, but also enable the municipality to better address inevitable and unexpected problems when they arise because of reserved funding. This is the opposite of private industry which weighs the economic value of any maintenance or emergency response against quarterly profit margins.
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