Dear Editor,

This year at the Montana Fair, we showcased important components of our state by hosting Veteran Day, Senior Citizens Day, Agriculture Day, Kids Day, and Energy Day.

Energy Day at Montana Fair provided an opportunity to share with our 200,000 plus visitors the important role coal, oil and gas has to this state, region and nation. Our nation must not miss the opportunity to capitalize on the energy revolution that's taking place largely made possible by new technologies. Unfortunately the political gridlock in Washington D.C. and the growing influence of federal agencies threatens this nation's ability to response to the global market for energy. The reality in Washington D.C. is when Congress creates a power void by their inaction; bureaucrats rush in with their own agenda to make their own self serving administrative rules.

As a former teacher, allow me to provide a brief review of how our federal government is structured as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

We all know there are 3 branches of government, but I will cut to the heart of the problem and focus on the Legislative Branch. Today the Senate is dysfunctional to the point of being an embarrassment due in large part to the filibuster rule they created for themselves. This antiquated rule can be removed by a 60% vote of its members. Yet getting 60 senators to show up for work is hard enough, let alone agreeing to cut off debate of a colleague who you owe a political favor to. At this time the U.S. Senate seems to focus more on doing press conferences, pointing fingers, and failing to pass a budget. The Executive Branch (President) is busy appointing friends to self-important agencies like the EPA; an agency which seeks measures from regulating farmers' dust to putting energy companies like the Corette Power Plant out of business with onerous regulations.

So what to do? Friends the real power lies with the House of Representatives-the peoples' house. This is the one body established in the Constitution to represent the current wishes of the people. That is one reason they are elected every 2 years and represent a limited number of citizens per House seat. Our founding fathers created the House of Representative and gave them one special power not afforded the U.S. Senate or the President. Only the House of Representative is given the authority to create a revenue bill. Without funding self important governmental agencies like the EPA don't operate. Legislative cuts should be surgical and selective. If the President won't rein in a rule making agency like the EPA, won't permit the Keystone XL Pipeline then the House of Representatives must cut off funding. A word to the House of Representatives members: you could stand to toughen up a little.

What is at risk today is the future of this country and energy producing states like Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado, and others. We are people so blessed with natural resources that this great nation could be energy self sufficient for economical and national security reasons. North Dakota for example has the lowest unemployment in the country, with some of the highest wages all thanks to the energy output. Wyoming has prospered for years by allowing responsible coal production and Montana has both of these attributes. Yellowstone County with 3 oil refineries, an army of oil and gas professionals, engineers, attorneys depends on energy. This state and nation will prosper ...just get the EPA and Washington DC out of our way and we will.

Jim Reno

Yellowstone County Commissioner

Market Update

1 DOW 20,471.16
-125.56 (-0.61%)    
2 S&P 2,331.14
-12.84 (-0.55%)    
3 NASDAQ 5,804.47
-24.27 (-0.42%)    
4 MDU 26.82
-0.36 (-1.32%)    
5 SWC 17.40
0.00 (0.00%)    
6 EBMT 19.85
-0.05 (-0.25%)    
7 FIBK 38.20
-0.95 (-2.43%)    
8 GBCI 32.11
-0.82 (-2.49%)