Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Letters to the editor Feb. 11

| February 11, 2024 12:00 AM

Concerned with CFAC cleanup plan

Like many residents of Columbia Falls and the Flathead Valley, I am deeply opposed to the EPA’s preferred plan to clean-up toxic waste at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company (CFAC) site.  

In fact, it shouldn’t be considered a cleanup at all. Rather than remove the waste and restore the site, the EPA plans to simply bury 1.2 million cubic yards of dangerous contaminants like cyanide, fluoride and arsenic, on site. This would effectively render the 960-acre site off-limits from most human uses forever, as well as pose a continuous threat to local water wells and to the health of our precious Flathead River.  

As the population of our valley rapidly increases, every bit of space is precious. Imagine that instead of a toxic waste dump, this site at the mouth of Badrock Canyon provided affordable housing, hiking, and biking trails connecting the town, new trails at Cedar Flats and future trails up Teakettle Mountain. New light manufacturing or commercial businesses could provide good-paying jobs, while the rest is open space for wildlife and people.

None of this, or anything else, is possible if the EPA’s proposed Waste in Place “remedy” goes through. Yet the EPA hasn’t even conducted a feasibility study of a complete clean-up. We must demand that they do.  And we need our county commissioners and Gov. Gianforte to do likewise!  We only have one chance to get this right.  Let’s not miss it.

— Rachel Potter, Columbia Falls

The Gianfortes’ new mansion

I’m delighted that our governor and his wife are willing to buy a historic mansion and donate it to the state. 

As always, our actuaries should make sure that we are not getting a donation for a dollar that results in an obligation that costs $1,000, but no one can seriously think that the Gianfortes have this as an objective. 

By my way of calculating, the state ends up with the original mansion that can be sold or fixed and used, and a second historic building that could be used or sold at a later date. 

So what if our governor gets a tax break, which by the way we are entitled to, at the end of the day, Montanan’s end up with at least a $2 million net gain by the most critical analysis. 

It’s like the old saying, “Can’t go broke making a profit.” 

I’d encourage any other wealthy folks to buy property and donate it to the state- as long as there isn’t a toxic waste site being shifted to the public portfolio.

— Bobby Lopp, Kalispell

Personal liberties

As a newcomer to the state, I write to express my observation and concern on a noteworthy inconsistency in the discourse surrounding freedom in Montana. While many Montanans passionately advocate for freedom from government control, it’s perplexing to witness support for political figures who, in turn, pursue policies that seem to infringe upon citizens’ individual freedoms.

For instance, there is a paradox in championing personal liberties while endorsing Republicans who aim to dismantle established rulings like Roe v. Wade. Additionally, the recent discussions around restricting platforms like TikTok raise questions about the alignment between rhetoric and actions.

It’s crucial for us to engage in a thoughtful dialogue that explores the nuances of these choices and seeks a coherent approach to safeguarding the liberties Montanans hold dear. The intersection of personal freedom and political affiliations merits careful consideration to ensure a consistent commitment to individual rights.

— Jan McCann, Kalispell

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