You are hereBack to top
To Make a Better Place Book Event
Towe and Bradley will be talking about To Make a Better Place, For This and Future Generations. (vol. 43 Public Land and Resources Law Review).
The book deals with a particularly charmed moment in Montana politics. It was the time that both Democrats and Republicans were able to set aside their partisanship and get things done for the good of all Montana. We were able to write a new Constitution for the state, and with bipartisan support we were able to pass critical legislation to protect our way of life as Montanans. The book was organized and edited by Dorothy Bradley and includes contributions by people who were directly involved: Ted Schwinden, Dodie Colburg, Bob Brown, Bob Campbell, Hal Harper, Robin Tawney, Greg Jorgenson, Harrison Fagg, Evan Barrett, Bob Raney, and many others.
Background: Montana’s 19th century constitution made it nearly impossible to manage the state. In the 1970s, a Constitution Convention was convened. Delegates were elected on a non-partisan basis from around the state, and then were seated in alphabetical order rather than by party. They worked together and came up with one of the most progressive state constitutions anywhere.
At nearly the same time, big coal companies noticed that Montana had well over 1 trillion tons of easily recoverable, low sulphur coal. They started talking about stripping the coal and then burning it at the mine mouth, exporting the electricity. The discussion soon began to refer to Montana as a “national sacrifice area.” There were a number of people who realized that we needed to protect ourselves. We needed to make sure that the costs of mining impact were paid by the companies, and we needed to require the companies to reclaim the land they disturbed. Tom Towe led an effort to establish a coal severance tax based on the actual market value of the coal being mined. It was a fair formula that did not stop mining but did mitigate the impacts.
Saturday, October 9, 2021 - 1:00pm
224 N. Broadway
Billings, MT 59101-1935