Author Archives: davidjkatz

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.

The National Climate Report: Don’t be duped. Understand it yourself, and take action.

The Trump Administration released its National Climate Assessment (NCA) last Friday. This is the work product of the science agencies of our country, and reflects the best scientific thinking we have to offer on the impacts of climate change over the next several decades. Here are the findings in a nutshell:

-Climate change is real.
-Science has determined the cause of climate change. It is almost 100% due to human activity.
-We can see the impacts today. They are here, and they are accelerating.
-Over the next several decades it will cause substantial damage to the US economy, human health and the environment
-The situation is not hopeless. By acting now, and acting forcefully, we can still avoid the most serious and dangerous impacts. It’s up to us. We hold our fate in our hands.

The Administration released the report last Friday, and immediately set about trying to debunk it, using mischaracterizations and outright lies. What they did not do is directly dispute any of the scientific findings.

At this point you have a choice: sit back and let this happen, or be in action to minimize the impact.

Click to read the findings. Continue reading

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Action Alert: Please write the Stillwater County Commissioners by Thursday, November 22

This is a request for action from those of you in Stillwater County. The County is in the process of updating its growth plan, last updated in 2007. They have done a poor job of soliciting input from the public, and the current draft of the plan is inadequate in many areas.

Comments are due no later than THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, so please act quickly. Continue reading

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Lessons from other states: Nevada and Arizona

There are two nearly identical November 6 ballot measures in Arizona and Nevada, where voters will separately decide whether to require utilities to acquire at least half of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Both measures would raise the “Renewable Portfolio Standard” (RPS) to 50% by 2030. An RPS requires electric utilities to ensure that a specified percentage of electricity they sell comes from renewable energy, which is usually tracked through a credit system. That allows for certain types of energy, such as electricity produced through rooftop solar systems, to have a “credit multiplier” effect and count more towards meeting the required minimum production standard.

To find out more about these initiatives and to find out what Montana is doing in this regard, click the link. Continue reading

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Lessons from other states: Washington carbon fee initiative

Washington has been trying to pass a carbon tax for the last decade without success. But this year, as unhappiness with Trump’s anti-environment agenda grows, it looks like they may succeed.

Initiative 1631 is on the November ballot. It would impose a starting fee of $15 per ton on carbon emissions, starting in 2020, with 70 percent of the money raised invested in clean energy. If it passes, Washington will make history, becoming not only the first state in the union to adopt a carbon tax, but also the first government anywhere to do so by ballot referendum. Continue reading

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November ballot measures in other states

Yesterday we looked at battle between the oil and gas industry and communities in Colorado. Today we’ll look at other fracking-related ballot measures in other states. Continue reading

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Lessons from other states: Colorado

Sometimes it’s worth checking in on other Western states to see what trends may eventually bring political change to Montana. Today we’ll look at Colorado, where conflict over oil and gas development is front and center on the November ballot.

On November 6, a long-simmering conflict between the oil and gas industry and community advocates will reach a head as voters will decide on two opposing oil and gas measures, Proposition 112 and Amendment 74. Both could have major conflicting implications on future oil and gas development in the state.

To read more, click the link.

Continue reading

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Last chance for your voice to be heard on chemical disclosure; email comments due to Board of Oil and Gas today by 5pm

This is an urgent request for your personal action. The Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (BOGC) is about to pass a rule on the advance disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking. This rule trades the rights of landowners for the rights of oil and gas companies. It’s a bad trade, and only your voice can make a difference at this point.

Comments are due at by email at 5pm today. Everything you need to know to comment is in this post. Please spend five minutes to make your voice heard. Continue reading

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Ryan Zinke, how do you really feel?

They say that a mistake in politics is when a politician says what he really means. Ryan Zinke was the keynote speaker at an oil and gas industry event in Louisiana this week. There’s no recording of his remarks, but the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association tweeted their version of what he said.

Click the link to find out. Continue reading

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Action reminder: Montana Board of Oil and Gas hearing on Monday, September 17

This is a reminder that the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (BOGC) will be holding a public hearing on its proposed new rules for fracking chemical disclosure. Quite simply, these proposed rules are not strong enough to adequately protect landowners and it is important for you to lend your voice to make sure landowners’ opinions are clearly heard.

You can make your voice heard in either of two ways.

To find out more and to read my comments to the BOGC, click the link. Continue reading

Posted in Fracking Information, Shared Letters and Posts | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Beartooth landowners file motion for summary judgment in zoning lawsuit

Beartooth Front landowners last week filed the critical brief in their lawsuit against the Stillwater County Commissioners. It outlines their argument for why landowners alone, without the approval of minerals owners, should be able to establish a citizen-initiated zoning district. The argument lies at the heart of a central tension in Montana law: the self-determination of landowners to decide what happens on their own property vs. the importance of mineral extraction to the state economy.

Assuming there are no extensions, the County will have 21 days to respond, and then the landowners will have 14 days to reply. That will put the end of briefings in early October. Our attorney has asked for a hearing on the motion, and we are hopeful that Judge Jones will conduct the hearing and issue a ruling on our motion before the end of the year.

To read more, click the link.

Continue reading

Posted in Legal | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments