August 16, 2012

"These are our mountains... I look at what we have, and I think, why ruin it over an oil rig?"

The NYT quotes Cheryl Little Dog — "a recently elected member of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, the reservation’s governing body" — in an article about the decision of the Blackfeet Indians allowing oil drilling on their 1.5-million-acre reservation, which is within view of Glacier National Park. Fracking has made drilling in this area economically practicable, and the tribal leaders — as the NYT puts it — think "oil wealth could be more lucrative and reliable than any casino — a resource whose royalties could transform a reservation scarred by poverty and alcoholism."

Those are the tribal leaders, but:

To find the opposing view, one needs only to drive five miles west from Browning, past the casino, heading straight toward the mountains, and pull off at the red gate on the right. There, on a recent summer afternoon, over mugs of horsemint tea, Pauline Matt and a handful of Blackfeet women were trying to find a way to persuade the tribal leaders to stop the drilling.

“It threatens everything we are as Blackfeet,” she said...

“You see this butterfly, you hear those birds?” asked Crystal LaPlant, as she sat on Ms. Matt’s back porch one evening, the meadows alive with sound. “Once they start drilling, we aren’t going to have those things anymore.”

Ron Crossguns, who works for the Blackfeet tribe’s oil and gas division, has oil leases on his land, a 10-foot cross in his yard, and little patience for that kind of pastoral veneration. He called it “movie Indian” claptrap, divorced from modern realities. Mountains, he said, are just mountains.

“They’re just big rocks, nothing more,” Mr. Crossguns said. “Don’t try to make them into nothing holy. Jesus Christ put them there for animals to feed on, and for people to hunt on.”
You just know Ron Crossguns is not the NYT's idea of an authentic Indian. You know, and he knows, and he's calling bullshit claptrap.

ADDED: Note how the NYT plays its readers' stereotypes about religion. The women, with their mugs of herbal tea, speak of the spirit of the land. It's a mysterious folk way that conveniently merges with and supplements the religion-free environmentalism of elite East-Coasters. And then there's Crossguns, who's got a 10-foot cross in his yard, so readers know to look down on him. He gives the Times some choice quotes, and we can infer that he was prodded with questions about those steeped-in-spirituality women. Speaking of convenience — he's got Jesus creating the world and speaks with a double negative ("don't... nothing...."). How the Times must have rejoiced!

69 comments:

rhhardin said...

Kinky Friedman on the freedom of nature (in spiritual Indian voice) You can't own land, you can't own a horse or a dog or a waterfall, you can only own a casino.

bgates said...

They're just making the whole thing up, aren't they? Look at the names - yesterday's aging Irish single lady, Maureen Dowd, and now a guy who works for the evil oil company, Ron Crossguns.

May as well have a regular column by Mary Margaret McSpinster and then go out West to interview fracking supporter Jimmy Jesusbullets.

Bob Ellison said...

RE: fracking-- check this out.

It's an hour long, and fascinating. In a nutshell, an oil+gas entrepreneur from Dallas argues that fracking could transform America and lift our economy, and opposition to it and to things like the Keystone Pipeline is "idiocy".

JAL said...

Is there evidence that butterflies stop flapping and birds stop singing with fracking or oil wells?
(Serious question.) I didn't know that butterflies lived underground.

I hear the caribou love the pipeline up north.

How many butterflies inhabit the 200,000 SF of a casino? (Also a serious question.)

Matthew Sablan said...

Ron Crossguns lives next door to Joe Ironicallynamed and across the street from Tina Namemakesapoint.

TosaGuy said...

Notice the photo attached to the article of a group of teepees next to a lake.

Somehow I suspect that average NYT reader still thinks Indians live that way.

AllenS said...

“You see this butterfly, you hear those birds?” asked Crystal LaPlant, as she sat on Ms. Matt’s back porch one evening, the meadows alive with sound. “Once they start drilling, we aren’t going to have those things anymore.”

Let me translate: We're better off with no jobs and on welfare.

shoutingthomas said...

Woodstock recently suffered through fracking hysteria. Although nobody offered money to drill in Woodstock (and probably nobody in their right mind would given Woodstock's ferocious anti-business, anti-profit mindset), our Town Board outlawed fracking.

The cause of the hysteria was a propaganda movie called "Gasland." Haven't seen it, but the climactic scene that outraged Woodstockers was of somebody lighting a match to tapwater and setting it aflame.

Gas and oil are very near the surface in areas that produce substantial quantities of gas and oil. You'd think this would be obvious, but the anti-business left doesn't always grasp the obvious.

Thus, places like Hot Springs acquired their name. Tapwater in areas rich in oil and gas could be set afire long before fracking emerged on the scene.

Woodstock suffers from high unemployment and chronic poverty, except for professionals and second home owners like me. In my 35 years in Woodstock, every business that displeases environmentalists (and, in particular a single attorney who makes it his business to make it too expensive for businesses he dislikes to get off the ground) has been discouraged into surrender with lengthy lawsuits and endless regulatory inquisitions.

New York State has been losing jobs and residents for decades for precisely the same reason.

Pete said...

JAL, you're correct. Today's oil and gas drilling techniques have very little effect on nature. Evil oil and gas companies are environmentally aware as well and love to score points with environmentalists.

In short, the environmental impact of pursuing oil and gas exploration on this Indian reservation - or anywhere, for that matter - will be minimal.

Lem said...

While there is still oil under the ground, people who try to stop it from being exploited are inadvertently prolonging the progress towards petroleum's eventual replacement which will only be brought about by its absence.


Rick Lee said...

Talk about claptrap. I've been to fracking operations. They'll mess up about a couple of acres of ground until the drilling operation is complete and then they clean all that up and leave a tiny well-head behind that could be hidden behind a few bushes. Oh my, the butterflies will be gone!! That's nuts.

chrisnavin.com said...

I've heard that the upper part of the Times building has Carlos Slim running his empire.

In a hand-dug crater below, are some gay kids from Yale, some French fashion designers, Mark Bittman, MoDo in a sarcophagus, and few whacko environmentalists and Gail Collins.

They run the paper now.

Carol said...

Well if history is any guide, we'll have another oil bust before all those fracking promises can come to fruition.

Anyway, yeah funny how endearing the primitive folk religions or exotic eastern religions are to the easter elites. We get an earful of that here in Montana all the time. The Lee newspapers are especially indulgent.

But I've been to the East Glacier-Browning area, and I don't see how oil rigs out on the prairie ruin the mountains??

It is a very striking transition right there - look at Google maps and you'll see it. Hell I wouldn't mind if it stayed totally undeveloped. But I think the considerable enviro lobby here is using divisions within the Blackfeet to stop the drilling.

BarryD said...

"JAL, you're correct. Today's oil and gas drilling techniques have very little effect on nature. Evil oil and gas companies are environmentally aware as well and love to score points with environmentalists."

True. And there's something else about this that environmentalists ought to think about (insofar as many of them think at all).

If the message to oil companies is "Screw you! We don't care what you do or how clean your operations can be, you're evil and we will fight you at every turn no matter what!", then oil companies will have little motivation to please the extreme greenies, or, worse, even conservationists like me.

Make no mistake: we WILL drill for that oil sooner or later. Maybe not when gas is $3.50. Maybe not $6. But maybe when it's $10 a gallon, the pressure to use the vast resources we have in the US will be irresistible.

When a President and most of a political party's worth of Congresscritters lose in a landslide over this, and this is what will happen at $10/gallon, to anyone seen as siding with extreme environmentalism, we will drill. Quite probably, we will drill indiscriminately and with little regard for the niceties we currently care about.

This would be a terrible consequence, I think. I support our exploiting our energy resources, in ways that are as clean as possible.

If the pendulum swings way too far in the other direction, though, this will be the fault of the environmental movement and what it has become. If they refuse to work with oil companies, then when the oil companies no longer need to tolerate them, they will not.

This is something the "green" types really ought to think about -- again, if they think at all.

Lem said...

Externalities...

I heard that word on the radio from Professr Epstein last night.

Ann Althouse said...

"Is there evidence that butterflies stop flapping and birds stop singing with fracking or oil wells?"

Don't you know a butterfly flapping its wings can start a hurricane? Butterflies can do anything... including expire with a dainty gasp at the ugliness of an oil rig that's capable of being photographed with mountains in the distant background.

William said...

Don't wind farms mess up the view? The evil spirit of the white man inhabits these demon contraptions and makes our ancestors weep. The rotation of the blades kills many white doves and lone eagles. The sound of the butterfly is heard no more in such a blighted land.

kcom said...

"over mugs of horsemint tea"

Yeah, that was cheesy. As soon as I read that I laughed out loud. It's exactly the sort of manipulation you'd expect from someone selling something instead of writing a story to convey information. But I'm sure it comforted those NYT readers.

Hagar said...

Casinos are no paragons of beauty either, and I don't think the casino story is fully played out yet. A lot of the development on the reservations is paid for by borrowing against the estimated future revenue stream from the casinos. That fails, whether from the general depression or because every tribe or splinter group with 1/32 verifiable Indian ancestry put up one, then what? Who takes the fall?
Not the "white man's banks" surely?

Bob Ellison said...

Bee balm was also used as a carminative herb by Native Americans to treat excessive flatulence.

"Carminative" apparently means "relieving flatulence". So here we have a case of a supposedly flatulence-relieving drug being used to relieve flatulence.

trumpetdaddy said...

Patronizing elite intellectuals have been mythologizing American Indians and using those mythologies as a club with which to beat the elites' own culture since Rousseau.

Nothing new under the sun.

MadisonMan said...

Sand needed for fracking is all over (well, under) central Wisconsin, and the arguments for/against its extraction are interesting to read.

If the choices are energy independence or pristine butterfly habitats and kowtowing to Arab States, I think I know what I prefer.

Hagar said...

Gas and oil are very near the surface in areas that produce substantial quantities of gas and oil

True for the early finds where the oil business first developed, such as Titusville, PA, etc., and as far as I know, such areas are where the horror stories of flammable tapwater, etc. are coming from.

The finds today are made where the oil and gas bearing deposits lie so deep that their existence was not previously suspected, and I do not see why contamination of the layers above cannot be prevented, especially as any substantial contamination would represent a large loss of product, and so not be in the interest of the oil companies.

Kirk Parker said...

"religion-surrogate environmentalism "

FIFY.

Fernandinande said...

"Blackfeet Tribal government, like many other tribal governments, is frustrated with the continued reduction of federal funds available to fulfill treaty obligations for essential services. Thus, the Blackfeet Council has determined that development of the large pools of oil and natural gas that on the Blackfeet reservation, in a responsible manner, ..."

Amartel said...

Ron Crossguns is the authentic Indian here, believe me. Miss Delicate Dreamcatcher and friends are the ones playing to white stereotype.

Ron has a cross, and a cavalier attitude toward Mother Nature. Two strikes, Ron. Bad Indian. (Guarantee you he's got guns, too. Lots of them.)

Hagar said...

Borrowing against the estimated future revenue stream of a casino is akin to a municipality committing to paying retiree pensions based on the estimated returns of their pension fund investments.

edutcher said...

Back in the 70s, the Sioux of SD wanted to hook up with OPEC to develop the oil lands available to them. Unlike the Blackfeet, the Sioux understand if you really want to scalp the white man, leave his head alone and go for his wallet.

PS The Blackfeet were done in by smallpox in the 1870s and not by fighting, that's why you never hear of any Indian wars for western Montana and Idaho.

Methadras said...

“You see this butterfly, you hear those birds?” asked Crystal LaPlant, as she sat on Ms. Matt’s back porch one evening, the meadows alive with sound. “Once they start drilling, we aren’t going to have those things anymore.”

Utter bullshit.

BarryD said...

It's hard to say why people haven't heard about Indian wars in Idaho, but it's not because there weren't any.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_White_Bird_Canyon

TMink said...

“It threatens everything we are as Blackfeet.”

Just the poverty and addiction part of being a Blackfoot.

Trey

Calypso Facto said...

“It threatens everything we are as Blackfeet.”

Just the poverty and addiction part of being a Blackfoot.


Nice. I was thinking "the unemployed part"...

David said...

A Crystal LaPlante from Montana is a plainfiff in a federal lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture alleging discrimination in agricultural loans and seeking damages. It's the Native American follow up to the Pigford case. There's also a Crystal Laplante with an outstanding Warrant in the City of Helena, according to their web site. Lots and lots of people named LaPlante in Browning, Mt. Also a lot of Crossguns, including Roberta, an assistant atty. general for the State of Montana.

David said...

From Cherokeephoenix.com:



GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Officials on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation are partnering with a Denver-based company in looking for oil on reservation lands along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Anschutz Exploration Corp. is putting up the money for the exploration. The tribe’s investment is covered by putting up the land for exploration wells, said tribal Chairman Willie Sharp Jr.

If the sites show potential, Anschutz plans to use directional drilling to better access potential oil reserves.

Last Wednesday, Anschutz crews wrapped up work on a site about three miles east of East Glacier. Work was scheduled to begin on Friday at a second site, about 33 miles north of Browning.

Site manager Ken Clare says the cores look good, but it could be weeks before they know if they found substantial oil reserves.

Jim Halvorson, a petroleum geologist with the Montana Board of Oil and Gas, said Anschutz plans to drill about 7,000 vertical feet into the two areas on the Front, and then horizontally about 11,500 feet. That method is being used because it makes it possible to drain more of a reservoir’s oil from a single location.

It’s not known how much of an impact the exploration could have on wildlife along the Front and in Glacier National Park.

Environmental groups have argued drilling on the front should be banned to protect wildlife habitat, but officials in Browning say the project has the potential to change life economically for tribal members and reservation land owners.

“What about the Indians? Talk about an endangered species,” said Ron Crossguns of the BIA’s Oil and Gas Division.


Mr. Crossguns seems to have a sense of clarifying the issue.

paul a'barge said...

why ruin it over an oil well

Oh dear. Texas boy here, from the north edge of the Eagle Ford Shale drilling area (SE of Austin, ask you son). They're just going crazy with all the drilling, and I'm not alone with wetting my pants at the thought of having the drill an oil well on my land.

Anyway, do you really think this Native American Mutt has any idea what an oil well looks like? I mean after they drill for oil and then install the pumper and pack up the drilling rig and leave, right? Because when the rig moves on, guess what you see: virtually nothing. The largest pumpers are about as tall as a small single-story house and down here in Texas we carry trees and bushes down to the pumper site and use landscaping to make the pumper invisible.

G-d spare us from people like this. People whose tribe members are probably gumming jujubees for food because they have no teeth because they've been too poor to visit a dentist.

And guess what they might get with an oil well (which with a bit of landscaping you would never see)?

Yep. Money. Money to visit the dentist.

Here's an idea. When you see an idiot standing in the middle of the road of progress, waving their arms and trying to stop progress, how about we drive right over them?

paul a'barge said...

Oh yes, and by the way ... they're not your mountains. They're OUR mountains, you pathetic moron.

paul a'barge said...

I think this is her

Apparently she went out and got herself a crappy little tattoo.

And she cares about the mountains and all.

Right.

David said...

They are drilling one exploratory well.

The tribe is putting up no cash.

One well. No cash. Oh the horror.

David said...

She's a nice looking woman, Paul. The tattoo isn't crappy. It's minimalist.

But she's still wrong.

Amartel said...

"they're not your mountains. They're OUR mountains, you pathetic moron"

Sorry to interrupt a perfectly good rant but if they're on the res, they are not [all of] "our mountains."

Amartel said...

Awesome research. The LaPlantes and the Crossguns. Sounds like the Hatfields and the McCoys but with more literalist names (treehuggers v. God 'n' guns).

Icepick said...

Ron Crossguns lives next door to Joe Ironicallynamed and across the street from Tina Namemakesapoint.

So where do they live in relation to Bob Twodogsfucking?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Is there evidence that butterflies stop flapping and birds stop singing with fracking or oil wells

Who knows. But we do have evidence that windmills chop migratory birds, Golden Eagles and other raptors into bloody pulps.

But, that seems to be perfectly acceptable to the greenies. Isn't it? What a bunch of brain dead hypocrites. If they like it the collateral damage is ignored. If they are against it, we must all live in the dark to same some butterflys.

Dave said...

Oil rigs have been “spoiling” the northern Montana prairie for over 100 years. The Cut Bank field, right next to the reservation, has been active since 1931. My grandfather was one of the original drilling contractors in that field and the Kevin-Sunburst field just to the east. This region of Montana was also dotted with small refineries which stunk up the area for decades. “Smells like money” was the common opinion back then. Those refineries are long gone, but the fields are still producing. There is no good reason the tribe shouldn’t benefit from their very valuable resource.

gadfly said...

I have to wonder if the reaction would be different if those Blackfeets/Blackfoots actually owned the land and mineral rights upon which they stand.

Folks out in Ohio. Pennsylvania and West Virginia are being introduced to a new Marcellus-Utica Shale millionaire every day.

Synova said...

Some newsie was interviewing a lady from, it was probably Williston, ND, and she went on about how sad the oil boom was and how they'd lost the nice quiet small-town atmosphere to raise little kids in.

There's always going to be someone who wanted to live in the middle of nowhere and is happy to be scrapping along. And that's *fine*. It's just not moral to think you've got the right to make that decision for everyone else, too.

Smilin' Jack said...

These are our mountains...

WTF? These people need an attitude adjustment. Someone should show them some John Wayne movies.

Mike said...

Althouse, for the love of God put one of them Like buttons on here so we can give tiny finger-props to bgates when he slaps down a comment that good. Jeebus man, I almost gacked my keyboard!

Methadras said...

This is a thread for Chip Ahoy!!!

Come on chip, do a gif with a rig going up on the mountain. springing an oil gusher over everything and turning it black.

Roger J. said...

I have spent some considerable amount of time with both the Yakima nation and the Colvilles--tribal politics are very much like any other politics--the golden rule applies: he who controls the gold makes the rules. Its all about per capita payments and providing jobs to the families of the tribal councils.

Kirk Parker said...

Roger J.,

Aren't you the guy from Memphis? When were you out in our neck of the woods???

Roger J. said...

Kirk--indeed from Memphis--but lived in Yakima for 20 years--most recently went with son on a canoe trip up to northern saskatchewan going thru missoula and on to pelican narrows-Reading Ann's blog about missoula was wonderful because I always spend time there coming and going up north.

Kirk Parker said...

Roger,

Thanks for the response. If you ever get all the way over to the coast, give me a head's up.

I have a built-in BS detector for lots of stuff, including whining about the term "Indian" itself, after having done some consulting for ATNI ("The Associated Tribes of Northwest Indians".)

Kirk Parker said...

Oops, sorry, that's "Affiliated" not "Associated" (it's been a decade or so...)

www.atnitribes.org

Roger J. said...

Kirk--dealing with the tribes is always interesting--the Yakimas have a sahaptin language base and the Colvilles have a salish language base--and there isnt much lost in the way of love between the two nations. (the Colvilles refer to the Yakimas as the ugly indians from the south). Like every thing else once you get to know them personally they are a delight that defy stereotyping as a group. I was honored that the Yakimas inducted me into the Yakima warriors association because of my military background. Many Yakimas served with distinction in our armed forces. I proudly wear my Yakima warriors association pin, although it only means something to my Yakima warriors.

Roger J. said...

Kirk--and I have spent considerable time canoeing with the crees of northern saskatchewan--they have mostly adopted anglo names, and probably the name Ballantyne is the most prevalent. Again, a delightful bunch--and they are always amazed that an old white man would go canoeing on their lakes when all of them have Lunds with outboard motors. They will stop and come ashore at my campsites and we will have a fish fry together. Life is really good in the northwoods. The Crees are wonderful friends up there.

Roger J. said...

Kirk--pardon one more post, but when the crees meet you on the north woods lakes, the first question they ask is: are you lost.

And of course I am not (although sometimes temporarily misoriented).
Many of the crees will take their whole family out in their Lunds--grandparents, kids and grandkids--they love sharing stories. The northwoods is really God's country.

Nora said...

I'm always amuzed with progressives' penchant to painting their darling minorities as patent idiots.

Elle said...

Commenting from pretty much the heart of Barnett Shale country. I can report we have plenty of butterflies, birds, fauna out the ying yang.

Oh, and money.

God bless Texas.

Methadras said...

Roger J. said...

and there isnt much lost in the way of love between the two nations. (the Colvilles refer to the Yakimas as the ugly indians from the south).


Northern italians call southern italians (sicilians), niggers.

Nick Carter M. said...

The rigs leave eventually. I work in the oil & gas industry and, yeah, there is some problem with fracking messing up water, but it is rare and reparations will be made.

I've seen cows grazing next to an oil well (and using it for shade)...don't see that with windmills.

Dante said...

Someone mentioned windmills. It turns out there are quite a few issues with them, associated with noise and flicker. I've seen better put together videos on this, but this definitely gives the sense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyOImGHyJtQ&feature=related

Drew said...

It seems that the Fort Berthold indians here in North Dakota have the right idea too.

http://www.minotdailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/567039/EPA-approves-final-permit-for-tribal-refinery.html?nav=5010

Jim Howard said...

I just saw a report on the weather channel that US CO2 emissions are dropping faster than ever before.

Why?

Because natural gas from fracking is replacing the far dirtier coal.

Why do the libs hate the environment?

sleepless nights said...

It's not any different than the fight that was going on in a little CA mountain town over Nestle taking the spring water for Arrowhead.

The same opposing viewpoints with no native americans - those who wanted the jobs, and those who wanted the environmental beauty. The environmental people won, btw - after about a decade of lawsuits and with the backup of a Levi Strauss heir.

Syl said...

If there's some spillage of oil it would be temporary---at worst a couple of decades if that. When Yellowstone blows it's goodbye reservation for----millenia.

Paul Risenhoover said...

Horsemint tea? Was Joe Wilson* there?


*Joe "I lie" Wilson not Joe "you lie" Wilson.

TMink said...

"Why do the libs hate the environment?"

I think it is that they hate God. God made the world, and all that is in it. And He made us, His crowning creation!

So they hate people too. Especially Jewish and Christian people.

They tolerate people who hate jewish and Christian people.

It is all about their rebellion against God.

Trey

Synova said...

I thought from the beginning that cross-guns referred to wearing two guns in holsters with the butts facing forward so that one used a cross-draw, drawing each gun across your body.

I suppose it just as easily could refer to a Christian cross but I wouldn't automatically assume so.