Otter Creek: We’re not done yet.
On December 21st the Montana State Land Board opened the bidding process to lease the coal beneath Otter Creek. All bids are due by the end of the day on February 8th. By the 9th we should know what kind of bids were recieved. At the next Land Board meeting, on February 16th, the decision to accept or reject a bid will be made. Three things could happen:
1. The Land Board recieves the full asking bid of $.25/ton of coal and approves (or rejects) the lease right then and there.
2. The Land Board recieves a bid of less than the asking price, under $.25/ton. They then debate whether to reduce the price and accept (or reject) the under-bid.
3. The Land Board recieves no bid at all. They then debate whether to lower the asking price or reject leasing Otter Creek altogether.
Through all this, there is one important thing to remember: the Land Board made the decision to open the bidding process thinking that Montanans didn’t care about Otter Creek, that it wasn’t important to us. On December 21st the Land Board heard more public testimony in opposition to the Otter Creek lease proposal than it had for any other single issue…ever.
After the meeting, their decision received widespread media attention which catalyzed a steady flow of calls to the LB, letters to the editor, and public pressure all touting the danger of leasing Otter Creek. This pressure has had an effect, and we need to keep it up. Call the Land Board and tell them what you think about Otter Creek, write a letter to the editor supporting Denise Juneau and asking the rest to follow her example, and check back here for upcoming actions, protests, and media events.
Background on Otter Creek and the proposal can be found here
If you want to be a part of the planning process for any of this, please stop by our weekly meetings.