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Plenty on the prairie
Plenty on the prairie

Milltown Dam

No safe place to put sediments

As a follow-up to Erica Brown's May 15 letter to the editor, "The facts are in: Remove it," regarding the Milltown Dam: Brown indicates that "we" know where the sediments could be put. For your consideration, the Environmental Protection Agency received a letter from Missoula County Health Supervisor Peter Nielsen on Aug. 21, listing 11 potential sites for relocating the Milltown sediments. The list identified several large tracts of land with potential for rail or slurry line access. Missoula County's suggested sites include:

1. 298 acres owned by Crystal Creek Ranch. Constraints include Clark Fork River flood plain, surface water and ground water, riparian habitat, Spring Creek spawning area.

2. 343 acres, Clark Fork compost. Constraints include surface water, flood plain, ground water, riparian habitat, residential development.

3. 160 acres, Bandmann Flats. Constraints include residential subdivision, golf course.

4. 124 acres, Stimson Lumber (adjacent to the Blackfoot River).

5. BFI landfill.

6. 150 acres, Louisiana Pacific.

7. 138 acres, JTL Gravel pit. Constraints include proximity to residential development.

8. 1,367 acres, Missoula International Airport. Constraints include access issues, airport facilities, development park.

9. 1,166 acres, O'Keefe foothill.

10. 128 acres, Moccasin Lane.

11. 459 acres, Stone Container.

I recently queried Nielsen following a presentation of the Two Rivers Restoration Plan that was given to members of the Hellgate Lions Club in Bonner. Nielsen readily dismissed the suitability of any of the above-mentioned locations even though the letter suggesting them to the EPA was signed by him.

It seems logical that Missoula County would expend energy on identifying a piece of land, that's in no one's back yard, prior to pushing for a remedy of the magnitude that Nielsen suggests and Brown buys into.

Ken Peers,

8750 Zaugg Dr., Missoula

President Bush

Policies will lead to ruin

It is embarrassing to watch George W. Bush attempt to sell his energy program as a consumer-oriented proposal when it has nothing for the consumer in the short term and everything in the way of scrapping considered regulation of corporate oil, coal and nuclear in the long term. The attempt seems oddly familiar to the renaming of what has accurately been called the Inheritance Tax, which affects only the wealthiest among us - and fewer than 50 people in the whole state of Montana - as the Death Tax, which supposedly affects us all. Clever.

Then there was/is the $1.6 trillion tax refund to the American people, the bulk of which will eventually go to the rest of the American people - all to be timed when the greatest stress will be placed on the Social Security and Medicare systems - 10 to 15 years hence. Smart. And it is always with the American people in mind. How stupid "our" president thinks the American people actually are will only be borne out by how successful he is in marketing his snake oil schemes to them - or, more importantly, their representation in Washington. I only hope he and his wealthy friends don't dig the American people such a deep economic and environmental hole that our children will not be able to dig themselves - and what's left of us - out. It is amazing what passes for leadership anymore.

James Wood,

705 N. 4th W., Missoula

Death penalty

A nation of moral hypocrisy

America's romance with the death penalty is nowhere more evident than in its decision to elect a president who presided over 40 executions during the year 2000 alone. Even Montana's governor, its U.S. representative and both its U.S. senators endorse capital punishment. Whatever our leaders' inner beliefs may be, it is politically expedient for them to follow what the public seems to want. This gets you elected and keeps you in office. The odd thing is that polls show that Americans do not believe that executions actually deter crime. They do see it as a way to get even, an absolute way to wreak vengeance.

Our religious leaders preach the need for individual redemption, but on the issue of the death penalty many of them fall in step with most politicians. Capital punishment seems to them to be an issue of righteousness, even though execution gives humans, not God, the right to take away any further opportunity to be redeemed, spiritually, socially or morally. In short, they play God despite their inconsistently accompanying belief that final judgment belongs to God alone, not to us.

And now we learn that the death penalty has become an issue of international diplomacy as well. Those nations in the democratic world who do not practice capital punishment see right through American moral self-righteousness and political expediency. Our European allies sent America a strong message about this by voting us off the United Nation's Human Rights Commission. To them, our romance with the death penalty points to our hypocrisy about human rights. Maybe it was high time.

Roger Shuy,

629 Beverly, Missoula

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