Bitterrooters challenge MT_DEQ approval of groundwater discharge permit for Grantsdale Addition

Excerpt “This case presents important issues of first impression regarding DEQ’s obligation to protect surface waters from pollution generated by subdivision waste – water. DEQ violated the plain language of §75-5-301, MCA, by failing to assess the potential for surface water impacts even though the subdivision will discharge up to 60,000 gallons of sewage with high concentrations of nutrient pollution each day into the shallow, rapidly moving groundwater aquifer close to the Bitterroot River. DEQ failed to gather any site specific data about ground – surface water connectivity. DEQ then failed to respond to the voluminous evidence the public provided on hydrologic connectivity. Read more…. Read more…June 26 Grantsdale Addition briefing.pdf

Ravalli Co Commission meet 10 am Thurs Mar 12

The county commission meeting scheduled for Thursday March 12,  to consider public notice and participation policy is for the commission to consider adopting the changes requested by the Bitterroot Star in our settlement proposal over the Big Sky Development lawsuit.

It will be a meeting where the public can voice their opinion over that $675,000 settlement.

If the commissioners adopt them as proposed with no changes the Star’s lawsuit against the commission will be dismissed. It is very important for the public to attend.

Below is a note from B4P:

Greetings all, Please read the message above from Michael Howell. This meeting takes place at 10 a.m. on March 12. It’s imperative that we can get as many people to attend this as possible. To remind you: the previous commission met behind closed doors to cut a deal with the attorney representing Paul Wilson, a land developer who sued Ravalli County over a commission decision (the commission on which Jim Rokosch, Kathleen Driscoll and I sat) to reject his proposal to use the county road department to bring Eight Mile Creek Road up to legally-required standards. He pledged to buy the materials. The law required him to pay for both materials and work crew. We rejected his proposal, he sued and the judge remanded the decision back to the Foss-Stoltz-Burrows commission. The commission agreed to the Wilson proposal AND awarded him $675,000. The judge was shocked, the original county lawyers were shocked. The Bitterroot Star sued the county over a decision that was made under shady circumstances. Before the lawsuit could progress very far, the county paid the lion’s share of the $675,000. It’s on your most recent tax bill. I don’t know the specifics of the Star proposal, but I do have faith in the Howells. They’ve been on this smoky-room decision since the beginning and I urge your attendance and support. I’ve asked Michael Howell for some specifics to pass on to you. I’m also expecting some information from Glenda Wiles, admin. asst. for the commission, on Monday.

Jack Thuloske; Hamilton, MT talk on January 28, 2015

This is a video of Attorney Jack Tuholske speaking January 28, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Bedford Building in Hamilton, Mont. Jack is Montana’s leading public interest and environmental law attorney. His topic is: The Road We Must Travel: Environmental Law in the 21st Century.
Video was taken by Kelsey Milner for Bitterrooters for Planning.

Citizens Outraged over Attack on Our Public Land

As reported in the Bitterroot Star and the Republic, commissioner Suzy Foss has arranged for Ken Ivory (a Utah state representative and CEO of the American Lands Council) to speak to elected officials and selected business people about how to get federal land (your birthright) transferred to state and local control.

A group of concerned citizens has put together some counter activities to inform the general public on this sneak attack on our rights and to counter the half-truths and mis-information spread by the American Lands Council and Mr. Ivory.

First, at 11:00 am this coming Monday (December 9th) morning, our group will present a citizens’ resolution of support for our federal public lands to our commissioners and ask them to adopt the resolution. Should be good theater! We need to pack the house.

Second,  in order to provide a more “fact-based” treatment of such “land grab” efforts, Bitterrooters for Planning is bringing in Professor Martin Nie, from the College of Forestry and Conservation at UM, to give a free, public lecture  on these Sagebrush Rebellion style movements. His lecture is Monday, December 9th, at 6:30 pm in the Community Center in City Hall (Bedford Bldg.) at 225 south 2nd street. Dr. Nie has published extensively on the topic and recently provided expert testimony to the Montana Legislature on the matter.

Third, Mr. Ivory is scheduled to make a public presentation on how local governments can take over federal public lands on Wednesday, December 11 at 6:30 pm in the Eagles Lodge on 2nd street. We need a strong turnout to show Mr Ivory and his ilk that Ravalli County citizens do not appreciate such anti-American activities designed to take away our rights. American flags will be available for waving.

It is easy to say this is just another Sagebrush Rebellion type movement that will fade away like all the others. But we cannot take that chance – these people are well funded (Koch Brothers) and are not going away. And we need to express to our commissioners in no uncertain terms that this land-grab effort cannot not stand.

Ravalli County Commissioners move forward on Public Land Grab

Here is a fact sheet produced by a group of concerned citizens with information on our county commissioners’ efforts to gain control of our American public lands! Please read and add your outrage to this travesty. Tell your commissioners that you are opposed to such “county supremacy” ideas and that you strongly object to proceeding down this road! Also, here is a Citizens’ Resolution, composed by the same group, that will be considered by the BOCC at a commissioners meeting in early December. It reaffirms Ravalli County’s support of our public lands.

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FACT SHEET

AMERICAN PUBLIC LANDS in AMERICAN PUBLIC HANDS Citizens’ Response to Raid on American Public Land Ravalli County Commissioner Suzy Foss has announced a public meeting for December 11, 2013, 6:30 PM at the Eagles, 125 N. 2nd Hamilton, MT. The purpose is to hear from a speaker, Mr. Ken Ivory of the American Lands Council (www.americanlandscouncil.org) and a state representative from Utah, to discuss “the regional movement to transfer our public lands…as contracted in our states Enabling Act…to state and local management”. Many citizens see this as an unpatriotic move toward privatization of our NATIONAL public lands, which are the birthright of every American from ‘sea to shining sea’.

This Tea Party privateers’ sneak attack on our American public land is another attempt at the old, discredited Sagebrush Rebellion. (Definition: “Failed movement led by conservative Western politicians to cede federal control of western land to individual states, promoting private ownership and commercial development.” www.termwiki.com) One might think Ravalli County Commissioners would have their hands full doing the work they were elected to do, especially with the turmoil they have riled in the Road and Bridge Department, Treasurer’s Office, Health Clinic, etc. However, they seem to have spare time to spend on issues entirely beyond their jurisdiction.

The language of the Enabling Act is clear: MONTANA STATE ENABLING ACT (Approved February 22, 1889.) [25 U.S. Statutes at Large, c 180 p 676.] “AN ACT to provide for the division of Dakota into two States and to enable the people of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington to form constitutions and State governments and to be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, and to make donations of public lands to such States.”….“Second. That the people inhabiting said proposed States do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof, and to all lands lying within said limits owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes; and that until the title thereto shall have been extinguished by the United States, the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition of the United States,…” A few self-serving people seem to have forgotten about America’s original rebellion against exclusion from a wealthy King’s private hunting preserve.

However outrageous and un-winnable this effort to disenfranchise citizens across our nation may seem, it is time for those who value our NATIONAL birthright to stand up and fight for it as those who came before us have done.

The love most Americans have for their public land is not based on short-term economics. However, it may be interesting to note some economic facts: *Western non-metropolitan counties with protected federal lands had faster employment growth and higher per capita income. Counties that had more than 30 percent of the county’s land base in federal protected status increased jobs by 345 percent over the last 40 years. By comparison, similar counties with no protected federal public lands increased employment by 83 percent. (Rasker, R., P.H. Gude, M. Delorey. 2013. In Review. The Effect of Protected Federal Lands on Economic Prosperity in the Non-Metropolitan West.Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy) *

Outdoor recreation is important to western economies. Nationally, OIF estimates an economic impact of $646 billion from active outdoor recreation (bicycling, camping, fishing, hunting, paddling, snow sports, wildlife viewing, and trail-running, hiking, climbing), supporting 6.1 million jobs. (Outdoor Industry Foundation, The Active Outdoor Recreation Economy: A $730 Billion Annual Contribution to the U.S. Economy, 2006). *Protected natural amenities—such as pristine scenery and wildlife—help sustain property values and attract new investment (The Role of Amenities and Quality of Life in Rural Economic Growth. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 83(2): 352-365.Deller and Tsai 2001)

What you can do: attend the 12/11/13 meeting and bring friends, write letters to the editor, contact the Commissioners, attend Commissioner meetings, vote your values, speak up, sing out, stand up and be counted.

Bitterroot Star: editor@bitterrootstar.com; PO Box 8, Stevensville, MT, 59870

Ravalli Republic: editor@ravallirepublic.com: 232 Main St., Hamilton, MT 59840

Missoulian: oped@missoulian.com; 500 S. Higgins, Missoula,

MT Ravalli County Commissioners: commissioners@rc.mt.gov; (406-375-6500), 215 S. 4th, Hamilton, MT, 59840

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Citizen’s Resolution in support of Public Lands

WHEREAS, the Enabling Act of Feb. 22, 1889 enabling the people of Montana, Washington and the Dakotas to form state constitutions and be admitted into the union, clearly states: “That the people inhabiting said proposed States do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof . . .”; and

WHEREAS, the preamble to the Montana Constitution states “We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.”; and

WHEREAS, the Ravalli County Commissioners took an oath of office pledging to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the state of Montana; and

WHEREAS, the USDA Forest Service estimates that 160 million people visited their national forests between 2008 and 2012, contributing $11 billion in recreation spending to nearby communities; and

WHEREAS, the USDA Forest Service spent more than $1.4 billion in firefighting costs nationwide in 2012; and

WHEREAS, state and local taxpayers do not have the financial resources to assume total obligation for the costs of fire management, maintenance of the Forest Highways, road and trails system, and other infrastructure located on America’s public lands within the boundaries of Ravalli County; and

WHEREAS, public lands connect the American people to their natural and cultural heritage, cultivate a conservation ethic, contribute to rural wealth, maintain clean water, support a diverse and healthy wildlife population and nurture the human spirit; and

WHEREAS, the Bitterroot National Forest and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness are public lands owned and enjoyed by ALL Americans; then

Let it therefore be RESOLVED that the Ravalli County Board of Commissioners acknowledges and supports the reality that America’s public lands are held in trust for all Americans;

And let it be further RESOLVED that the Ravalli County Board of Commissioners requests a county attorney opinion on the constitutionality of local county government control of American public lands.

Enough is Enough!!

This is an urgent plea for financial support to fight the Legacy Ranch Subdivision and, ultimately, to put citizens back in charge of how development occurs in our BitterrootValley. Developers and speculators cannot be permitted to run rampant. If you value the open spaces and lack of congestion that characterize our BitterrootValley, this is exactly the time to step up and protect it.

After careful examination of the record, and after consultation with counsel, we believe the Commissioners’ Legacy Ranch decision contains numerous violations of law, violations of the Montana and US Constitutions, egregious procedural errors, and arbitrary and capricious behavior. We filed suit in District Court on August 10th, 2013 asking the judge to declare the approval illegal and to order a new application be submitted that follows the law.

Perhaps even more important, we intend to be actively engaged in state agency reviews of Legacy Ranch and, regardless of the outcome, to challenge the substance of State subdivision regulations, RavalliCounty regulations, and state agency review procedures through additional litigation.  Bitterrooters for Planning intends to pursue these issues to the highest level.

This movement to take back control of our valley will require substantial commitment of volunteer time and a significant war-chest. Though we understand that individual circumstances vary, we are asking for minimum contributions of $100. If you can do more, bless you. If you have to do less, give what you can and bless you. Please make out your checks to Bitterrooters for Planning and return to:

Bitterrooters for Planning

PO Box 505

CorvallisMT59828

 Your help now is critical to all that we are committed to in our campaign to preserve our irreplaceable quality of life in our valley.

Kelsey Milner, President

406-363-7555

Kelsey.milner@gmail.com

Commissioner Foss enlists county supremacy radicals in effort to take over public land!

Every Bitterroter who believes in the value of public land should be outraged with this assault on America. Please make plans to attend BOTH meetings. All reasonable folks, regardless of political strip, need to come together and make sure these “county supremacy” ideas are returned to the trash heap of anti-American nonsense where they belong!

Transfer of Public Lands”USFS” to the States meeting December 11, 6:30 PM at the Eagles FOE 125 N. 2nd Hamilton, MT
On December 11, 2013 Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory will be in the Bitterroot for two meetings, one in the afternoon for elected officials and business owners to be educated and updated on the regional movement to transfer our public lands to state and local management. This meeting will be in BJs back room, 2 pm to 3:30pm. We have limited seating in this room.
That evening at 6:30 pm a public meeting will be held at the Eagles. This meeting will be well advertised and open to all….
The transfer of public lands, as contracted in our states Enabling Act is the ONLY way that is big enough, 100% constitutionally solid, and a workable solution to our public land multiple use issues. At least there has not been any other idea that has a positive US Supreme Court ruling that I am aware of.
If you are not yet familiar with the American Lands Council and their leadership in this movement please go to www.americanlandscouncil.org

Earlier this month several of us attended two invitation only conferences on the legal and ethical way to accomplish our goals for state and local management of our public lands. The Heritage Foundation out of Washington DC supports the TPL concept and hosted one of the meetings which were held in Park City, Utah.
Please RSVP if attending the afternoon meeting so we can plan the setup. We need to know by Dec. 9 at the latest. Again, this meeting is for elected officials and supporting interested parties as it is a chance to discuss legislative and county government policy. The evening meeting will be more general and an overview along with how individuals can get involved.
We are looking for sponsor organizations to both assist with some small funds needed to pay for our share of the airfare and room rental at the Eagles and some advertising for a total of $500. If your business or organization cannot help with some funding we still would like your support and if ok the use of your organization/business name to use in our advertising as supporting organizations. We want the public to have awareness of and access to the various groups working together to solve these management problems in a legal and responsible way. We need to pull together moving forward as there is strength in numbers and we are all looking toward a workable solution.
Please do not hesitate to pass this on to other organizations and individuals who might like to attend or be a sponsor. A supporting sponsor just lists your organizations name, for more space to give contact info and purpose a donation is appreciated.
Hope to see you all on the 11th of December!
Suzy Foss