This article may be a sign of what we can expect from the new editor of the Indy.
It's hard to find much information online about who Allen Best is other than he is writing via the terribly compromised High Country News. The science of burning methane is questionable as it releases both carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
And his integrity comes into question when he sites Randy Udall as an important environmentalist.
Udall has been promoting the debunked peak oil theory for years which was in fact created back in the 70's by the oil industry to justify higher prices and encourage investment in a vary abundant commodity. Currently there is global glut of oil with no end in sight. It may very well be true that there are more hydrocarbon based energy resources within the earth than our biosphere could ever tolerate and maintain life on earth as we know it today. We just have to figure out how to minimize their use. Udall has also recently written in support of fracking with the view that we simply have to accept it.
Udall may very well be a covert propagandist for the energy industries, and the same may be true of Best.
Certainly, this is as the least watered down environmental writing far below the level of honest writing that Ochenski gave us for years at the old Indy.
Wow...where are the comments ?
Not only is coal the dirtiest major form of energy on earth, but our corporate fascist Federal government is giving publicly owned coal away for a fraction of it's value, thus subsidizing the pollution of our air, land, and water.
Coal companies routinely win ‘competitive bids’ against no competition
By Philip Bump
"A report in today’s Washington Post provides a clear example of this latter sense, focused on the Powder River Basin overlapping Montana and Wyoming.
The government’s longtime practice of auctioning coal mining rights to a single bidder may have cost taxpayers as much as $28.9 billion over the past 30 years, according to an analysis to be released Monday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a Cambridge, Mass.-based think tank. …
The phenomenon — in which a mining company draws up a proposed area for leasing, and the Interior Department’s BLM auctions it off to that same firm — is the rule rather than the exception in the country’s single biggest coal producing region. In the 26 coal leases the federal government has awarded in southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming since 1991, 22 have gone to a single bidder. In the other four instances, there were only two bidders involved.
Dave Roberts wrote about a similarly sweet deal in March, in which Peabody — the sole bidder on a large seam — paid the government $1.11 per ton for coal they could sell to China at $123 a ton. Peabody’s next opportunity to win such an auction is this Thursday, as Greenpeace’s Joe Smyth noted over the weekend.
The benefit to companies that “win” such contracts are often immediate."
How's that for corporate welfare at our expense ?
And on the state level, our Coal Cowboy Governor pushed through a dirty deal on our Otter Creek coal at well below market values ! The bottom line is that there has NEVER been a Montana governor in history who has managed our resources for the greater good of Montanans but have been willing to bend over backward for out-of-state interests. Perhaps this has been going on for so long that they are now genetically predisposed to grovel at the feet of corporate special interests ?
Another terrible problem with coal ash and the emissions from the stacks is the radioactive elements released and in some cases concentrated. The discussion is usually about CO2 and mercury emissions from the stacks, but the issue of radiation has been swept under the rug.
From: Scientific American
Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste
By Mara Hvistendahl
“The popular conception of nuclear power is straight out of The Simpsons: Springfield abounds with signs of radioactivity, from the strange glow surrounding Mr. Burn's nuclear power plant workers to Homer's low sperm count. Then there's the local superhero, Radioactive Man, who fires beams of "nuclear heat" from his eyes. Nuclear power, many people think, is inseparable from a volatile, invariably lime-green, mutant-making radioactivity.
Coal, meanwhile, is believed responsible for a host of more quotidian problems, such as mining accidents, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions. But it isn't supposed to spawn three-eyed fish like Blinky.
Over the past few decades, however, a series of studies has called these stereotypes into question. Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy. * [See Editor's Note at end of page 2]
At issue is coal's content of uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements. They occur in such trace amounts in natural, or "whole," coal that they aren't a problem. But when coal is burned into fly ash, uranium and thorium are concentrated at up to 10 times their original levels.
Fly ash uranium sometimes leaches into the soil and water surrounding a coal plant, affecting cropland and, in turn, food. People living within a "stack shadow"—the area within a half- to one-mile (0.8- to 1.6-kilometer) radius of a coal plant's smokestacks—might then ingest small amounts of radiation. Fly ash is also disposed of in landfills and abandoned mines and quarries, posing a potential risk to people living around those areas.”
And in yet another corrupt and incompetent regulatory act favoring corporate interests, the State Of Montana has approved the use of coal ash as a construction material complete with toxic heavy metals and radioactive elements.
Yes, it should be interesting to see what kind of Montana environmental coverage we will see under Meyerowitz ? Ochenski was the best informed and most critical columnist in the state on environmental issues. As part of the environmental movement in Montana for decades, including lobbying the legislature for improvements, Ochenski was always on the cutting edge. He was also not shy about exposing the corruption in Washington that effect our environmental issues. In these ways, there is no one like Ochenski.
Perhaps silencing that perspective is part of the new editor's job description or part of his personal agenda ? Time will tell.
Brilliant editorial decisions. Censor and terminate the best columnist in Montana (Ochenski) and run a very ordinary article about a forest fire in New Mexico ?
I think we need to be more compassionate towards a mainstream hack turned alternative editor. Let's pool our resources and buy him a nice dinner and give him some gas money.
It is possible that Meyerowitz may have decided to get rid of Ochenski even before he was hired by Gibson. But why we can only guess. His own marginal journalistic career shows no inclination to think outside of the box and beyond the scope of the corporate media establishment.
In many ways, journalism in America has narrowed down over the past few decades. One factor is that with the consolidation of corporate media other corporations that have a special interest in limiting what the public will hear have taken control of the "news" corporations. There are even interlocking directorates between such corporations.
And the censorship is exercised by editors who make a career out of limiting investigative journalism and shutting down writers who would otherwise act as a valid check and balance on our society and government.
And we only have to look at the tragedy of the invasion of Iraq to see how incompetent and complicit journalism can result in human suffering. Hundreds of thousands of people dead and wounded (perhaps a million) and $4 Trillion in public debt. But the war industries made a killing and Iraq's resources are now open to corporate exploitation.
It was due to the complete failure and conformity of mainstream editors and journalists that there was no investigative reporting reporting done to determine if the Iraq WMD spin was valid. The WMD lies were designed by the Bush Administration and their Neocon allies including active influence from the oil industry, the military industrial complex and a few players close to the Likud part of Israel.
All of the so-called journalists and editors marched in lockstep and we are all paying the price.
Goebbels would have been impressed by the corrupt complicity of those who create mainstream American media.
I agree. There is no one in Montana media writing like Ochenski. He is part of Montana in more ways than one. Our mainstream media is a sick corporate joke.
As more information is revealed about Meyerowitz censoring Ochenski's writing, this particular article reveals there could very well be a hidden agenda to silence Ochenski's truth telling.
Ochenski was told he could no longer write about anything other than Montana issues. But if this were a consistent policy under the new editor, why has Meyerowitz published this article which is specifically about South Dakota and also written by someone from Oregon ?
Why set one standard for Ochenski and another standard for the Indy in general ? Why apply a double standard and drive out an important voice ? It appears to me Ochenski has been targeted.
Perhaps the publisher, Gibson selected an out of state hack to silence Ochenski. Maybe he thinks he can make more money by turning the Indy into a yuppie entertainment rag ?
It would be difficult to find anyone in Montana to do what the new editor has done, as we understand the importance of our contemporary culture and freedom of speech.
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