In the mail

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The views of our readers

Does the BDNF

care?

To the editor,

In the summer of 2018, six grazing permittees met with the Forest Supervisor of the Beaverhead Deerlodge NF and her staff to discuss how the Forest was changing the way grazing allotment compliance was determined. After four hours, the permittees left not knowing if they could participate in this process, with no decision, no direction, and no knowledge of what the future of their grazing might be.

To this date, no information on this change has been forthcoming. Grazing permittees are left up in the air on how they will be judged on their grazing each year.

At this time, many grazing permittees are having trouble with the BDNF. The Forest Service looks at everything in a black and white perspective. Managing livestock is not black and white. Ranchers must adjust constantly. Adjusting constantly is something this, now retired, Range Specialist learned working with the permittees. The Forest Service wants everything exactly as specified in documents, and this is not realistic.

A permittee has to prioritize their work, money, and time. This is true of all people and professions . The BDNF prioritizes also. However, maintenance of their own fences, 4x4 roads, and water troughs are at the bottom of the list; if they are on a list? Many of these items haven’t seen any maintenance in decades. Yet, the Forest Service hounds permittees if every fence and trough isn’t perfect every year. Permittee’s want their troughs to work and fences to contain cattle. Other things cause problems that are not predictable nor easily managed: Gates left open by recreationists, cattleguards full, trees fall on fences, predators, weather, terrain etc. The Forest Service needs to be practical about how this maintainance is accomplished each year.

Several Forest Range employees are arrogant and condescending to permittees. Some employees with little on the ground knowledge, start ordering permittees around. Many of these ranchers have 40 plus years of experience in grazing and cattle management. This attitude has caused much stress, anxiety, and at times monetary loss.

Information has been forwarded to upper management in FS to inform them of the past history and how a trusted working relationship was built between the FS and permittees, prior to the recent range staff.

The Forest is throwing away 20 + years of learning together, and the creation of a trusting working relationships.

No comment has been received as to a change in the Range Program direction, hopefully working toward a more amiable working relationship. It is hoped that a new direction would eliminate the FS running roughshod over permittees for the sake of ego, rather than using common sense. “Caring for the Land and Serving the Public” is their motto. Does serving the public not include working with grazing permittees?

Art Hall

Sheridan

Keep it transparent

To the editor,

Dear NorthWestern Energy’s 374,000 electrical patrons/users: NW Energy has filed its 1,100 page plan “Protective Order” to the Montana Public Service Commission asking the PSC’s approval for its plan to buy a large share of Colstrip Power Plant. In approving this proposal, the PSC would commit NWE’s customers to paying costs, currently undisclosed, related to its share purchase.

Protective Orders are used to keep confidential information that could compromise NWE’s competitiveness in a market environment. Only, NWE is a monopoly and doesn’t operate in a market environment. NWE is requesting that it be kept secret the impact ofthe cost ratepayers will have to pay to for NWE’s long-term customer debt requirements needed to pay for future replacement costs of the failing/badly damaged superheated Colstrip Unit 4, about $20 million. Also in the works is the estimated total cleanup of Colstrip of $400 million, a bill that will be unevenly split among the four-unit power plant’s six owners. And more, shielded from the public were cost estimates of capital expenditure projections and operating budget for the power plant.

NWE’s refusal to be transparent about increasing costs required to operate an aging power plant undermines its false claim that “this will be good for ratepayers.” We all are aware that there is a reason investors and utilities are exiting dirty and expensive coal. Avista Corp. is proposing a settlement in Washington in which it would not agree to any Colstrip-related expense that would prolong the life of the plant. Why should the PSC agree to ask Montanans to do so? Please write to the Public Service Commission at 1701 Prospect, Helena MT 59601 or phone 406-444-6199 or visit web site: psc.mt.gov.

Protect your rate costs and future transparency thereof by asking the PSC to deny NWE’s request for a “Protective Order.”

Pat Bradley

Twin Bridges

Love thy neighbor

To the editor,

Well, how did everybody feel watching democracy die last week? The sham trial put on by the Senate kind of cancels out Bunker Hill and Saratoga doesn’t it? Somewhere George III is laughing his crown off and wondering why he couldn’t have found a Tory Trump to make the colonies great again. Would have saved him from hiring all those Hessians. Of course, George was insane too.

Senate Republicans covered themselves in shame with a stellar display of cowardness that will brand a big C on their cheeks for all time. They know Trump’s a crook, yet they can’t even muster enough of a spine to get off their knees. Who raised these people?

I see that the “He learned his lesson” crowd lasted until the prayer breakfast. I’ve never had much use for organized religions, they’ve probably got as many kills as saves over the years, but the teachings of Jesus make a lot of sense to me. They’ve provided mankind with a social code that many “Christians” seem to leave locked inside the church. But to see a phony like Trump rebuke the Sermon on the Mount, the core message of Christianity, was almost too much even for me. That speaker gave a unity speech with a Love Thy Neighbor message and Trump blows him off. What a jerk. Which brings us to Mitt and Nancy. When someone has a deeply held religious belief that guides their life, as they do, that is to be respected, not derided as a cheap political trick. Trump seems to think everyone has the same lack of moral fiber that drives him. What a rotten human.

So what do Americans do now? We’re being ruled (not governed) by a narcissitic psychopath, without morality or empathy, who is bent on vengeance against people who have done nothing wrong other than speak the truth. The Constitutional oversight and impeachment functions of the Constitution have been neutered, and his flunkeys run both Justice and State. The Rule of Law is on life-support. This is bad.

Under Trump, this will not be the country we grew up in. I assume it’s not the one you want your kids and grandkids to grow up in. Americans created a democratic republic and made it work. But 240 years isn’t very long in the arc of history. If this experiment is going to continue, we all better get our Thomas Paine reader and commit it to memory.

Pete Bengeyfield

Dillon

Express yourself in the Dillon Tribune

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