The Billings Outpost

Good Keystone decision

I want to praise President Barack Obama for his decision and standing with tribes and landowners by rejecting the Keystone Pipeline XL. This decision reflects the need for an additional supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement that would study many of the remaining needs such as:

· An Emergency Response Plan;

· A study of the corrosiveness of tar sands oil pipelines in light of the 14 spills on the Keystone I pipeline which began operations in June 2010;

· Assurance that pipeline thickness will be the same in rural areas along the pipeline as in highly populated areas.

The President had announced that he and the State Department would need until the 2013 to adequately review public safety and environmental impacts from the project. A Presidential Permit is needed because the privately owned pipeline would cross the U.S. border. Congress passed legislation that would have forced Obama to make a premature decision on the pipeline by Feb. 21.

There is a coalition of tribe’s THPO’s (Tribal Historic Preservation Offices) that gathered recently, opposing the Keystone Pipeline Project. Their opposition was concerning to a few historic sites along the keystone corridor. I’m hoping that when this adequate review takes place, the tribal THPO’s are at the table.

The members of The Northern Plains Pipeline Landowners Group, a committee of Northern Plains Resource Council, is a group of landowners crossed by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline who have organized to negotiate with TransCanada an equitable contract which protects landowners and public safety. I want to thank organizations such as this for the due diligence needed projects that have such a huge impact, across the broad spectrum of Montanans. We, as Montanans need to step up and support this decision, to make sure all Montanans interests remain intact.

Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy

Senate District 16


Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 10:39

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Contact senators

The real shame in the Billings City Council’s process of creating a “special district” to increase the budget of our parks department is that legislative intent did not equal the surviving language of the new “special district” statutes, and even though two legislators stepped forward and admitted as much, our City Council went ahead and approved it anyway. 

Senate Bill 57, passed in 2009, was designed to streamline administration of special districts. Evidence of its housekeeping nature is found in its fiscal impact statement: Analysts did not check the box on the form that reads “significant local government impact” and the only cost they anticipated was to the Department of Administration in Helena.  Unfortunately no one appreciated what would happen when lots of valuable language got swept away with the more than 200 statutes this clean-up process repealed.

In 2011 legislators introduced House Bill 304, titled An Act Generally Revising Laws Governing Special Districts. HB304 provided many modifications to SB57 and offered language that might clear up the subject of fees vs. taxes, which seems to be the issue in Billings.

HB304 died in process. To ensure its revival and passage in 2013, please write to our “hold over” senators, and talk to our many candidates vying for a chance to go to the 2013 session. Ask them to breathe life back into HB304 and recover some of the language of the repealed statutes. I don’t believe SB57 was intended to allow local governments to implement a tax conveniently disguised as a fee.

Here’s a list of our “hold over senators, by Senate district: SD 1 Chas Vincent, 4 Jon Sonju, 5 Verdell Jackson, 8 Shannon Augare, 11 Anders Blewett, 12 Mitch Tropila, 13 Edward Buttrey, 14 Llew Jones, 15 Jim Peterson, 20 Eric Moore, 23 Alan Olson, 25 Kendall Van Dyk, 28 Jeff Essmann, 29 Edward Walker, 30 Jason Priest, 31 Ron Arthun, 32 Larry Jent, 35 Art Wittich, 39 Terry Murphy, 40 Mary Caferro, 42  Dave Lewis, 44 Bob Lake, 48 Tom Facey, 49 Dave Wanzenried. You can find their contact information here:

Sarah Grau



Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 10:39

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Unhappy with cable

I understand exactly what Robert McDermott is saying about Bresnan/Optimum in your Jan. 26 issue. I live in a low-income senior apartment complex. Many seniors spend their days immobile and isolated, with little access to the community. TV keeps them connected to the world and entertained.

However, many of us have had to cut way back and some are reduced to using “rabbit ears” for their TV entertainment. Personally, I have been with Bresnan and now Optimum for two years. In those two years, my bill has gone from $100 per month to a now high of $150 for phone, TV and internet. When we question customer service about rising prices, lost channels, scheduling, and short-term discounts, we get the run-around.

I realize seniors are not the only group affected. Hard economic times have hit us all. But if Bresnan continues its pricing and policies, they may not always have more business than they know what to do with.

Dianne Hanson



Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 10:38

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Elite male heirarchy

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops finds efforts to provide free birth control to women “an affront to their citizenship.” My, my, my. These powerful men feel that the use of contraception is “immoral,”  and they are complaining loudly about finding themselves “without choice” in the matter.

The Obama administration’s health plan will expand the availability of birth control to all women by providing free contraception even to those women who receive care in Catholic institutions. Those women who do not want contractive services can simply say no. They will decide for themselves rather than have an elite male hierarchy deciding for them.

Joan Hurdle



Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 10:36

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A Lie is a Lie...

You have written and published one of the most partisan, inaccurate hack jobs ever to disgrace your newspaper. I refer to “A lie is a lie—except sometimes in newspapers.” Here are some of your missteps.

1.   You quote Brisbane thusly: “…whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge ‘facts’ that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.” Then you say, “Readers obviously thought reporters should call out lies, but that wasn’t exactly the question Mr. Brisbane asked. The question isn’t whether lies should be called out, but how often and in what format.” You are wrong. Your Brisbane quote has two parts: (1) “Whether  … reporters should challenge ‘facts’ . . . J’ Part [sic] (1) makes it obvious that Brisbane raises the question of “Whether lies should be called out.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 February 2012 20:10

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