Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Energy development, revisited

Mike Lange's HB 405 passed yesterday 51-49 on a party-line vote. We have commented on this bill before, asking what we thought was an obvious question:

If Gov. Schweitzer promised to fast-track things like oil pipelines when he was up in oil country -- Sidney, MT -- during the heart of the 2006 campaign season, where were the Democratic bills that would pave the way for this kind of fast-tracking?

Showing some rhetorical flourish, Rep. Dave Gallik, D-Helena, called the Republican bill the "biggest, baddest" bill. He also said: "Hang on to your property rights because they are at risk." The latter is sort of an odd thing for a trial lawyer to say, but we suppose he is being sincere.

The point remains that if Democrats are going to follow through on Schweitzer's commitment to fast-track energy development items such as pipelines, then they need to support Lange's bill, since they didn't present one of their own. We hope that this bill gets a fair hearing in the Senate, and that our Republican Senators ask some of those obvious questions.

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