by Senator Ed Butcher (ret.)
Although his Director of the Department of Natural Resources wrote an editorial that “Trust land dollars represent the cornerstone of funding for our schools…,” Governor Schweitzer is proposing to trade valuable natural resource school Trust land enclosed in the Missouri River Monument for BLM land without energy resources—a deal which he is pitching to BLM Director (Bob Abbey).
It appears that once again the Montana citizens are going to be on the short end of an environmentalist structured land deal! The 37,000 acres of State School Trust Land imprisoned in the Missouri River Monument by Clinton’s last Executive Order is a proven gas field (with a number of producing wells in the Monument drilled prior to the Federal land grab as well as a probable large oil reserve).
Schweitzer should be working to develop the millions of dollars in energy revenue for Montana schools. This loss of State mineral resources will weaken the property and mineral rights of the 120 private land owners included in the Monument boundaries. Those wanting to lock up Montana natural resource riches are thrilled to have Governor Schweitzer and the other Democrat members of the State Land Board working in their behalf.
This will occur if concerned Montana taxpayers do not step up quickly to pressure the Democrat controlled State Land Board, who are all up for re-election in 2012, to stop this land swap. The entire Land Board (chaired by Governor Schweitzer) is comprised of radical left leaning Democrats (Sec. of State McCulloch, State Auditor Lindeen, Attorney General Bullock, and Superintendent of Education Juneau).
Montana needs to develop their natural resources and not lose these valuable resources to Federal wilderness areas being used to collateralize our national debt borrowed from the International Monetary Fund.
Concerned citizens must pressure Schweitzer and the other Democrat Land Board members not to trade our valuable natural resource land for BLM land with no mineral reserves. Remember, all but Schweitzer (who reportedly is campaigning for 2016 U.S. President) are running for Montana elected office in 2012!
Ed Butcher Winifred businessman/rancher is a former political history/science professor who served ten years in the Montana legislature– Senate (Highway Com Chairman) and House (Agriculture Com Chairman) as well as on Senate Finance and House Taxation Committees.