Speaker on Coal

I can't find this in the online edition of the Tribune, but here's a little piece tucked on to page 2 of the Montana Section this morning:

Expert to address City Commission about coal-fired generating

By Tribune Staff An environmental expert will address the City Commission tonight on the subject of the pro­posed coal-fired generating plant, City Manager John Lawton said Monday.

“It’s not on the formal agenda, but I plan on allowing him to speak as part of the city manager’s report,” Lawton said Monday evening.

He identified the speaker as Kenneth A. Reich of Boston, a partner in WolfBlock’s environmental and Land-Use Practice Group.

“He is engaged in representing power industry clients in the permitting and construction of new electric generation facilities,” according to Reich’s Web site. “He has handled complex and high-pro­file litigation and major transac­tions for corporations, institutions, and public entities with respect to a wide range of environmental mat­ters.”

I cannot attend due to my required attendance at an annual meeting of a charity board I sit on. I have already committed to attend that function.

If I did go, I would like to ask Mr. Reich some questions. First of all, who is paying him to come and speak to the Commission? How much is he being paid? If tax dollars are being used, are they also going to be used to hire someone to speak against the coal plant? If tax dollars are not being used, what is the payor receiving in return for sponsoring this visit?

Why isn't it on the agenda? Shouldn't the subject of his talk be made public so citizens can prepare to ask intelligent questions?

I hope I am wrong, but my guess is that he will simply preach the party line about the Highwood Generating Station: no risk, can't lose, sure thing...etc. Hopefully someone can attend and question this fellow.

I am really not against the coal plant, but every time we turn around something just sort of 'pops up.' I am a naturally suspicious type (being a lawyer, and all) and I think people tend to do things for a reason.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The council, mayor and Lawton have things setup so you nor anyone else can question them directly in an Open (tongue in cheek) City council meeting.