Monday, March 24, 2008

Critics Slam Plan to Electrify Montana Campsites

HELENA — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials are considering plans to electrify campsites at four state parks in Western Montana later this year.

Critics say the proposals don't jibe with Gov. Brian Schweitzer's initiative to cut back on the state's energy consumption. Other opponents of the idea say that if the improvements are made, the state will compete with private businesses.

Former legislator and outgoing Public Service Commissioner Bob Raney sharply criticized FWP's plans to electrify campsites at Salmon Lake, West Shore, Placid Lake and Lewis & Clark Caverns state parks in an interview last week. Raney, who fought in the Legislature throughout the 1990s to keep development of the parks at bay, said the proposals send the wrong message about energy conservation, would increase the state's maintenance costs and electricity bills and eventually would lead to higher user fees.

"Not only are we literally giving electricity away to the people who come to the campgrounds, but we're also promoting the use of vehicles that get three or four miles to the gallon," Raney said. "We've got a governor who says he wants state agencies to cut 20 percent of their electricity use by 2010, yet his parks department is developing electricity products at campgrounds right in the face of his 'let's use less' program."
Full Story...
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