Does Governor Bullock Care About Protecting Water?

by William Skink

This morning I woke up with a line of poetry in my head, so despite it being 3am, I had to work it out. The video will be below.

But first, the video features shots of the Clark Fork river. Thinking about protecting water, I wanted to highlight some things the Democratic leadership in Montana are doing (and not doing) to protect water.

First, what they’re not doing. In a letter to Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality, Missoula County Commissioners expressed their frustration. Here’s a bit of that frustration:

The commissioners told the EPA that the public process has been limited to a “few public meetings” and email updates that have not provided detailed information or results. They believe that they have been kept out of providing comments on work plans for the site investigation.

“The length of time that it has taken to get the investigation initiated, results released and further work conducted to clean up the site has been disappointing,” the letter continued. “Unfortunately, the process that has unfolded at the Smurfit site is substandard compared to what we were expecting after our experience with the Milltown process.”

Commissioners also hinted that the EPA is letting the corporations that ran the mill in the past and the current owners have too much control.

“We believe that West Rock and International Paper, along with M2Green, are exerting substantial control over work at the site, with little or no public review,” their letter states.

But freshly reelected Governor Bullock isn’t happy to just let his DEQ keep commissioners in the dark while colluding with industry. Nope, the Governor has also authorized sending state troopers to join the militarized police response to water protectors at Standing Rock:

North Dakota requested help from Montana under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, an agreement between all 50 states that requires approval by both the governor and the Montana Department of Emergency Services, according to Montana Attorney General’s Office spokesman John Barnes.

Last month, through that agreement, the state sent 10 Montana Highway Patrol troopers from across Montana to North Dakota to assist with protests, Barnes said.

Democratic leadership in Montana, folks. No wonder so many people are saying fuck ’em.

Now here’s the poem, Fog. Enjoy!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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8 Responses to Does Governor Bullock Care About Protecting Water?

  1. petetalbot says:

    Missoula County Democrats, and others, are organizing an action to keep the governor and the MT attorney general from sending any of Montana’s law enforcement officers to Standing Rock. What are you doing, Skink, a poem? A video?

    • I volunteered my time to clean up homeless camps on the Clark Fork, and yes, I made a video about it. would you like me to tell you about the next clean-up so you can do something about the problems that exist in your own community?

      • petetalbot says:

        Yes. That would be good. I’d like to help. Tell me when. I’m done commenting here, though. I’m bitter and hurt and needed to vent. Some really good people went down this election along with many progressive ideals, swept up in Trump’s, Zinke’s and others’ simplistic sound bites. In Montana, this electoral disaster will be felt in many ways, and I’ve mentioned some but here’s another: the state land board. We’ll be auctioning off our Montana trust lands to the highest bidder.

        My time now will be better spent doing some analysis and figuring out how to move forward. I’m not quitting on that.

        I may copy this comment to your previous post, below, just for some closure. Peace.

        • you’re not the only one who is bitter and hurt, yet when I explain my trauma, you mock it and the process I’m sharing in trying to deal with it.

          so thank you for no longer commenting here, as I care as little for your perspective as you do for mine.

        • petetalbot says:

          I offer the olive branch and you shit on it. That’s all I really need to know about you.

        • I didn’t see any olive branches in your derision and ridicule, you sanctimonious prick.


  2. steve kelly says:

    Like all the rest, Gov. Bullock does what he is told. I look at Land Board votes for differences between members and political party affiilation. O’Keefe may have been the last to stray from the script before his unsuccessful run vs. Gov. Judy Martz. As long as water is treated as a “resource” or commodity, it is in grave danger of being polluted and/or sold and resold to the highest bidder.

  3. Matthew Koehler says:

    RE: Missoula County Commissioners expressed their frustration about water quality, Smurfit (lack of) clean up, etc

    Ironic, isn’t it, that the former head of Montana DEQ is Tracy Stone-Manning (who is Gov Bullock’s current chief of staff)? And that TSM is also the former executive director of the Clark Fork Coalition? And the Clark Fork Coalition needed to sue Montana DEQ and their former boss over the ‘absurd’ water pollution permit Montana DEQ issued to the new (swindler) owners of the Frenchtown Pulp Mill?

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