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.

Last week the federal Environmental Protection Agency released a proposal it is calling the Clean Power Plan.  If enacted, it would cut carbon pollution nationally by 30 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030.   Because Montana has already taken steps since 2005 to promote renewable energy and invest in energy efficiency, our state would only need to reduce our carbon pollution by 21 percent from existing levels.  Under this new proposal, Montana would be afforded enormous flexibility to craft regulations that fit our economy, our natural resources, and our power needs.

The Insidious "Cost-of-Living" Raise

Jun 11, 2014

Once a year, for most employers and employees, the issue of cost-of-living raises comes up.  As currently practiced, they are more accurately labeled "Cost-of-maintaining-current-lifestyle" or "Cost-of-Maintaining-Poverty" raises.

Fixing the Student Loan Mess

Jun 5, 2014

I do not accept, carte blanche, the reigning conservative belief that higher taxes directly shrink the economy and reduce economic growth.  However, that macro-economic premise drives decisions in Congress that have made it virtually impossible to approach our economic challenges in a balanced manner.  As a result, the only balancing that has been occurring is the balancing of our economic solutions on the backs of middle and lower income families.  Meanwhile, money is allowed and even encouraged to continue to “trickle-up” to the wealthy, increasing income and wealth disparity --

Court Secrecy Kills, Again

Jun 5, 2014

Al Smith, Montana Trial Lawyers Association.

In April I spoke about GM, its problem ignition switches and the lax federal regulatory system. GM hid dangerous defects from the public and federal regulators, and as a result Americans have needlessly died. Last month, federal regulators fined GM and further investigations are underway.

A Call to Action

Jun 4, 2014

In Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917, author Michael Punke describes a time in Montana when the “Copper Kings,” William Clark and Marcus Daly, reigned supreme through graft, corruption, bribery, and greed.  Even Mark Twain who knew William Clark personally commented about Clark, “by his example he has so excused and so sweetened corruption that in Montana it no longer has an offensive smell.”  As the sordid story of Clark’s purchase of a Senate seat unfolded, however, a group of people did find the smell of his dealings offensive, and they set out to make

A Path Forward for Energy Production

May 29, 2014

I’m Shelby DeMars with Count on Coal Montana, a coalition advocating for increasing Montana’s coal production to provide new jobs and opportunity for our state, and to supply the world with affordable energy.

I’d like to talk about two of the most serious problems facing us today: climate change and energy poverty.   Both are big, difficult challenges, and they’re so inextricably intertwined that we can’t discuss one without the other.

First, what are the facts?

Five-Minute Commencement Speech

May 28, 2014



This is the time of year for commencement speeches.  You know, that onerous tradition of making graduates suffer through a speech before handing them their diplomas. 

Few commencement speeches are memorable – my high-school one was, because the speaker was the actress Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch in “The Wizard of Oz.”  Nobody really listened to the speech; we were all just waiting for her to say, “I’ll get you, my pretty” – which, of course, she did. 

Prior to winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, John Steinbeck decided he was out of touch with America.  He took his French poodle Charley on a cross-country road trip, documenting his adventures in his book, Travels with Charley in Search of America. Steinbeck wrote rapturously of Montana, saying, “…I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love….Montana has a spell on me. It is grandeur and warmth….Of all the states, it is my favorite, and my love….”


Farms Have So Much More to Offer

May 22, 2014

I love the change of the seasons. In the Flathead we see the farm fields change from white to brown to black to green; and eventually to many colors of bounty before we go back to brown and start again.

Dealing with a “Speculative and Uncertain” Future

When Planning Electric Supply Acquisitions