Monday, April 15, 2024

Letters to the editor April 2

| April 2, 2024 12:00 AM

Money downstream

From the March 27 article “Flathead Lake level dispute boils in letters to federal hydroelectric regulators.” Well, yes, it does.

According to the article, attorneys for Energy Keepers Inc., and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes fired back in response to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that Lake County commissioners created “manufactured public safety concerns” that are “disingenuous at best.” 

“Quite simply, the county’s petition is nothing more than an effort to ensure a constant summer lake level to benefit a small group of lakefront dock owners.”

 Small group? I am absolutely enraged that the lakefront homeowners and shoreline businesses, that totally encircle Flathead Lake are defined as a small group. 

After lake level warning issues were posted last summer, I made a sincere effort, on July 14, to remove my boat from my boat lift shore station — to no avail. Since we moved here, in 1991, we have never had a year dry enough to prevent us from boating during the summer months. Then EKI and CSKT take over. What is wrong with this picture? Money (downstream) changes everything.

— Mark Rowe, Polson

Litter bugs

I keep wondering who these people are throwing their trash along our highways. U.S. 93 between Kalispell and Whitefish being particularly bad. 

Shouldn’t these people know better? If you are a citizen of this community, this state, this world, you have a responsibility to care for our planet. It’s the only one we have. I know for a fact that it is possible to contain my garbage in my car until I can dispose of it in an appropriate container.

Likely, teenagers whose parents have neglected to impress upon them we don’t throw litter out our vehicles and why it matters. Akin to “teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.” All life is a gift not a “right.” The world does not owe us anything. We’ve been charged to care for our world and the Flathead Valley is part of it.

I suspect, however, much of what we’re seeing is adults who don’t bother tying down their loads in their fancy pickups and are driving too fast. If you lose your load you have a pretty good idea of where it is. Go back and pick it up. It’s not your mother’s responsibility and it’s not the county’s job — it’s yours. Time to grow up.

And, that goes for the irresponsible dog owners who somehow can walk by two “doggie pots” on the Swan Trail, fully stocked with bags and containers and still not pick up after their animal. You are without excuse! I find myself picking up after my dog and yours. 

Much as I would like, I can’t pick up everybody’s trash and it grieves me to see this beautiful land unappreciated and uncared for. It’s time to start caring before it’s too late.

— Kathryn Berg, Bigfork

Veto override

Senate Bill 442 is a crucial step in providing funding to preserve the habitats that sustain our wildlife and our hunting traditions as Montanans. Through the allocation of marijuana excise tax revenues, this bill not only addresses vital community needs but also makes a significant commitment to habitat improvement, which is essential for maintaining the health and diversity of our game populations.

A key component of SB 442 is the creation of the Habitat Legacy Account, which dedicates 20% of annual marijuana tax revenue to habitat conservation. This translates to approximately $17.3 million per year which is primarily directed to Habitat Montana, with a portion allocated to the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP).

The expanded funding for WHIP promises improvement and maintenance of habitats across tribal, private, and public lands. This includes projects that enhance water conservation, such as irrigation improvements and beaver dam analogs, which are vital for sustaining healthy aquatic ecosystems for fish and waterfowl. The program also focuses on riparian area and aquatic habitat maintenance, range management, drought resilience, noxious weed management, and wildlife conflict reduction. In addition it adds funding to county budgets for the maintenance of roads that lead to these areas we recreate. These initiatives are crucial for maintaining the health and balance of our ecosystems, and continuing to allow access for public land enthusiasts. The passage of this bill will directly impact the quality of our hunting experiences.

Many have worked hard to give the legislature the chance to make this bill a law, and I encourage them to do so by returning their veto override ballot by 5 p.m. on April 18 with a vote to override.

— Will Clark, Kalispell