With increasing frequency, government agencies are lobbying and politicking for causes that should be confined to public debate. The use of taxpayer dollars for what is probably illegal activities is overwhelmingly in support of a smorgasbord of left wing, eco-extremism and politically correct causes. Recently, the Montana University system once again flew it’s true colors; green and red. For a report, read the article below.
Your Tax Dollars At Work
The University of Montana hosted a workshop Feb. 17-19 in Missoula to provide a forum for a variety of misguided presentations about a number of natural resource issues, including climate change, coal and oil production, transportation and agriculture.
Even more troubling, the workshop trained participants on a number of “grassroots organizing” methods to obstruct responsible natural resource development.
The workshop agenda included sessions on “Biomass incineration, Biofuels, Biochar, Hydro, Geothermal and Other Bad Ideas;” “Beyond Coal Campaign;” and “The Tar Sands and their Tentacles: From Megaloads to the Keystone XL pipeline and everything in between.”
Workshop instructors included representatives of the Sierra Club, the Energy Justice Network, the Montana Environmental Information Center, the University of Montana Environmental Studies Program and many more.
While workshops attacking Montana’s natural resource economy are nothing new, the fact that this one was held on campus and included the presidents of both the University of Montana and Montana State University as well as Missoula Mayor John Engen as keynote speakers is new.
It’s also very disturbing that UM President Royce Engstrom, MSU President Waded Cruzado and UM Vice President of Student Affairs Theresa Branch were listed as “Platinum Sponsors” along with the Sierra Club.
Speaking of sponsorships, how ironic is it that a workshop aimed squarely against Montana’s natural resource industries would name its sponsorship levels after some the precious metals (platinum, gold and silver) that provide significant support to our economy?
Of course, Montana’s 12,000 oil and gas workers, 1,200 coal miners, 2,800 miners and thousands more working in timber and wood products, construction, farming and ranching, trucking, rail transportation, electricity generation and other natural resource industries have the right to be appalled that an agenda-driven event designed to undermine and attack the backbone of Montana’s economy was supported by public officials at public university facilities.
What kind of message does university support for this event send to the thousands of students at UM, MSU, Montana Tech and other Montana institutions of higher learning who are working towards degrees in engineering, chemistry, biology, forestry, business and other disciplines with the goal of someday landing a good-paying job with a natural resource company in Montana?
It was no coincidence that an article in Sunday’s Missoulian covered an “anti-coal” protest on the UM campus after the “Power Shift 2012” workshop.
Many of the workshop’s keynote speakers and participants organized and directed the protest. Readers of this newspaper should keep in mind this protest is part of an initiative organized by an Oregon and Washington group called CoalExportAction.
The Montana Chamber of Commerce recently conducted a scientific poll of Montana voters and discovered that over 73 percent of them want to see more hard rock and coal mining, oil and gas development and timber production.
I suspect these voters and the thousands of Montana natural resource workers would also like to see out-of-state groups like CoalExportAction go back to Oregon and Washington and the Montana’s University System get back to its job of preparing its students to enter the workforce — not the world of activism.
— Mark Lambrecht is Executive Director of the Western Environmental Trade Association in Helena.
GREEN ON THE OUTSIDE, RED ON THE INSIDE