Letters Published Aug. 9, 2017

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Judge’s ruling seen as tool of environmentalists

I was shocked and amazed that Judge Molloy shut down the Montanore mine application once again! Astounding!

No, not really. I wasn’t surprised at all. Actually, it was quite predictable. But his decision does confirm two things. First of all, the far-left environmentalists do not really care about the people, the families and the towns inside of Lincoln and/or Sanders Counties. To them they are just unavoidable collateral damage. Secondly, our environmental laws must be eliminated or, at worst, dramatically changed.

The extreme environmentalists, who so effectively control the Democratic Party and collaterally, Sen. Tester, consider the economic devastation of Lincoln and Sanders counties as collateral damage. It is the same concept as when bombing an enemy, innocent bystanders are killed or maimed. So sorry, but the end justifies the means so to speak. For these extremists, the poverty and unemployment created by decisions like this are the necessary result of creating wilderness and/or their giant preserve and, by the way, well worth it!

The enforcers of this doctrine are our black-robed dictators (federal judges) who use the ever present environmental laws as effectively as a guided missile from a combat jet — one stroke of the pen and all those jobs are blown into oblivion.

It makes no difference who you elect to Congress or our state’s Legislature as long as these laws are in effect. A single judge (like Molloy) can overrule Congress, our governor, our Legislature and the will of all the people of Lincoln and/or Sanders County — by himself!

If you want good paying jobs, a good economy, decent schools and modern infrastructure your only hope is to elect U.S. senators and representatives who articulate and support the need to change these outdated and antiquated laws. Sen. Daines and Rep. Gianforte are on board — Sen. Tester is not.

It was no surprise that Molloy shut down the mine just as it is no surprise that the Democrats care more about their precious wilderness then people who must, in their opinion, continue to be the collateral victims of their rabid environmental philosophies. And yes, to change this situation it is necessary to elect people to our U.S. Congress who will drastically change or eliminate them once and for all. As for those Lincoln/Sanders County residents who support this far-left environmental movement, I wish all of them the poverty they so richly deserve. —Mark Agather, Kalispell

Swan Forest Initiative is wrong approach

Why won’t Lake County Conservation District Chairman Jim Simpson respond to our concerns about his Swan Forest Initiative that would have Montana take over logging of 60,000 acres of wildlife-rich Flathead National Forest and share the alleged profits with Lake County? It appears Montana could turn a profit only by claiming it would get three times the price for its logs and by over-logging fish and wildlife habitat.

The Flathead National Forest Plan’s logging analysis is based on actual stumpage/log values and shows it loses about $100 on each load of logs sold. Mr. Simpson flat out refuses to tell us why he uses a stumpage estimate three times larger than actual values to show a profit should Montana instead control the logging.

We’ve also pointed out that FireWise Montana indicates the type of logging Mr. Simpson would do on these mature federal forests will result in younger forests that produce flame lengths three times as high and would cause fire to travel at three times the speed. Yet Mr. Simpson is going around with a slide show saying this logging will reduce fire spread.

He hasn’t responded to us about that either. Instead, he says he’s simply taking a vote on whether people think he has a good idea. He appears more interested in running a scam than having a public dialogue discussing facts.

We think Mr. Simpson should listen to three of his Lake County Conservation District associates that in 2016 wrote, “enough time and money have been spent on this dead end proposal. It is time to let it die.”

We urge you to tell Mr. Simpson the same by visiting swanforestinitiative.org, emailing swanstudy@gmail.com, or mailing the LCCD at 64352 U.S. Highway 93, Ronan, MT 59864. These lands belong to all Americans, not just Lake County. —Keith J. Hammer, Bigfork

Fire department supports Swan Forest Initiative

The Lake County Conservation District has come up with a once-in-a-lifetime idea — an idea that does not cost Swan Valley residents anything!

Our Swan Valley forests have built up an unbelievable amount of forest fuels. When these fuels ignite and burn, your Swan Lake Rural Fire Department will only invest our efforts in evacuating you, the residents of this unique valley. There should be more we can do. Right now, everyone can see trees dying on our mountainsides here in the Swan. Old age and disease are taking their toll, causing an overload of fuel to explosive levels.

The idea that the Lake County Conservation District has been studying goes like this. Establish a 60,000 acre Conservation Forest on federal lands, sustainably manage the forest and sell merchantable trees to the last of the few sawmills that are left in Montana. After paying the state of Montana for forest management costs and a fire protection cost, reinvest the balance in a proactive forest fuels reduction program and other important conservation projects here in Lake County. And, the amount of money that is available is significant, $500,000 per year! This idea is sustainable, earns money from proactive and wise management, and it all comes from a renewable resource, trees.

The Swan Lake Rural Fire Department urges you to support this idea. Take a look at this idea, the story can be found at swanforestinitiative.org. Support this idea! Let the Lake County Conservation District know that they should keep working. You can let them know you support this idea at swanstudy@gmail.com or you can send them your support letter at, 64352 US Highway 93, Ronan MT 59864.

This message is coming from your all-volunteer Swan Lake Rural Fire Department. Without your support, the folks that want nothing done, except to see our valley burn, will win. —Allen Branine, Swan Lake Rural Fire Department chief

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