Schweitzer says feds ‘let us down’ on protecting North Fork

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is annoyed at the slow progress retiring mining leases in the Canadian Flathead — not because the Canadians are dragging their feet, but because he feels the U.S. government is not doing their part. However, there seems to be two sides to this story.

Here’s an AP article from the 4th of June providing a good overview of Schweitzer’s stance:

Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Thursday that he’s disappointed the federal government hasn’t come up with about $17 million needed to compensate mining companies as part of a deal with Canada to protect the area surrounding Glacier National Park.

The joint U.S.-Canada deal seeks to halt ongoing exploration and calls for a stop to future development of gold, coal, oil and gas in much of the Flathead River Basin. The basin sprawls across some 9,000 square miles and straddles the border.

Schweitzer and British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell signed the memorandum of understanding in February. It lays out several goals, including the compensation of two small companies that will have to walk away from their mines.

Read the entire article . . .

And here’s an editorial by Kellyn Brown of the Flathead Beacon questioning Schweitzer’s view:

It’s hard to know what to make of Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s recent criticism of his “federal partners” for, according to him, failing to secure $17 million to compensate Canadian mining companies so they will abandon their mining leases near Glacier National Park.

Read the full editorial . . .