It’s pleasing to see a pair of nonprofits, one on each side of the border, work together to protect land around Glacier National Park. The Nature Conservancy of the U.S. and its counterpart, Nature Conservancy Canada, this week announced plans to split $9.4 million owed to two mining companies as part of a deal to prevent coal and gold development on land in the Flathead River Basin that straddles the international border. A pair of Canadian firms agreed to give up their mineral claims to land in the basin north of the border, if they could recoup the money they’d already spent on exploration in the area, which amounted to $9.4 million. The payout represents a victory for conservationists, and at no cost to public coffers.
Kudos to Curt Perano of New Zealand, who won the Race to the Sky this week in his first attempt. Perano was first across the finish line in Lincoln, covering the race’s 350 miles in just under 13 hours and defeating Washington musher Laura Daugereau by less than five minutes. It’s been a good winter for snowfall in Montana, but the conditions for much of the race may have reminded Perano of his Southern Hemisphere home, where it’s now the height of summer. The dogs prefer weather that’s well below freezing, and temperatures in the 40s meant mushers tried to do some of their racing at night. But it wasn’t too warm to cancel the race, so Montanans were once again treated to one of the rites of winter in these parts — and a close finish to boot.
The House Natural Resources Committee will spend some of its time, of which it apparently has more than enough, this morning holding a public hearing and then voting on a bill by Rep. Joe Read, a Ronan Republican, that if passed would have the Legislature claiming that global warming is good for the Montana economy. According to Read’s bill, lawmakers who vote in favor would believe that global warming is good for the state’s business climate; that releasing reasonable amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has no verifiable impacts on the environment; and that human activity hasn’t accelerated global warming beyond what would be occuring naturally. It’s very important to note, though, that the bill does make an exception for a one-time, catastrophic release of carbon dioxide.