Commentary from a variety of Montana citizens expressing a range of viewpoints.

Views expressed by the commentators do not necessarily reflect the views of this station.

Living Up to the Legacy

Apr 10, 2014

Twenty years ago, Billings, Montana set a national standard for community rejection of hatred and bigotry.  Almost as one, the community shouted a loud “NO” to ultra-right-wing extremist behavior that was racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic.

The Northwest United Skinheads and, police believed, elements of the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation, were equal opportunity bigots, targeting for abuse and intimidation anything that wasn’t “white, American and Christian.”  Whether you were black, Latino, Indian, Jewish or gay, you were not welcome in their America, or their Billings.

After winning Picture of the Year for his film “12 Years a Slave”, celebrated Director Steve McQueen dedicated his Academy Award to the 21 million people around the world still entrapped in slavery.  To many Montanans, this statement may sound a bit strange, even unbelievable.   It is hard to imagine world where men, women, and children are brutally exploited and trafficked like a commercial property.  Such practices, however, not only exist today but also thrive. 

GM, oh GM, what to do about you? You hid dangerous defects from the public and federal regulators, you determined 57 cents was too high a cost, to you, to fix the problem, and as a result Americans have needlessly died. If it weren't for those pesky family members who lost a loved one seeking accountability from you, and the trial lawyers that represent them, you wouldn't be the butt of late night comedy sketches. But, you have somewhat of an explanation, it wasn't all your fault.

Confusing Politics and Economics in Electric Supply Decisions


Apr 2, 2014

Recently, I was asked to speak about collaboration in the nonprofit world:  what it is, why it’s important; what makes it work and what makes it fail.  That got me thinking. 

As a start, I looked up “collaboration” in the dictionary.  Its two definitions amused me.  Collaboration is first defined as “the act of working together with one or more people in order to achieve something”; and second, as “the betrayal of others by working with an enemy, especially an occupying force.”

Building tall with wood supports rural America

Apr 1, 2014

If cities are serious about tackling climate change, then the solution may be found in building the city of tomorrow to look more like the city of yesterday.  As glass and steel towers continue to rise, wood skyscrapers are likely to start sprouting alongside.  Multi-story and high-rise wood buildings are already planned or rising in Europe and Canada.  They are architecturally distinct, and they are made of the original green building material. 

Good evening, my name is Elisa Prescott and I am the Sustainability Coordinator for Lewis and Clark County in Helena.

Over the last few years, Lewis and Clark County has been working hard to encourage, promote, and support resource efficiency, energy conservation, and economic savings throughout our community.

As the second session of the 113th Congress develops, it is my great hope that Congress can leave its abysmal bill passage record in the past. In 2013, Congress signed just 58 bills into law, the lowest since bill tracking was initiated in the 1940’s. Much of the stalemate characterizing the last two congressional sessions has been blamed on bipartisan gridlock. It begs the question, why aren’t the widely supported bipartisan bills that are waiting in committee becoming law? Bills that are well rounded, effective, and supported by stakeholders are repeatedly dying in committee.

The Flight from Coal in U.S. Electricity Production


          In the late 1990s as the Montana Power Company exited the electric utility industry and headed for bankruptcy as a telecommunication company, Montana Power sold off all of its Montana electric generating facilities to Pennsylvania Power and Light. The utility that bought Montana Power’s electric and natural gas delivery system of pipes and wires, NorthWestern Energy, is now trying to buy back those Montana hydroelectric facilities.

Natural Hazards

Mar 21, 2014

Floods and avalanches are on Montanans’ minds right now.  That means it is also an appropriate time to take a step back and think about natural hazards more generally.  We are accustomed to thinking of these disasters as acts of God or bad luck, or otherwise entirely outside of our control.  However, if we look carefully at disasters worldwide, we see an important result: natural disasters are more often—though not always—human disasters, because the largest influences on the outcome are social and ethical considerations.  Let me give you an example: the Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Fr