Some more details are surfacing regarding the apparent determination by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to bomb Glacier National Park's southern flanks in the name of avalanche control.
As I noted earlier this week, the railroad says it wants to resort to lobbing 105 mm shells into the park rather than maintain snow sheds, structures it has been using along the tracks that run along Glacier's southern boundary since 1920 or so in the name of avalanche control, because it would be cheaper.
Well, as Montana's Missoulian newspaper points out in a story about this issue, Burlington Northern had revenues of $13 BILLION last year, when it realized a 73 PERCENT increase in operating income.
Now, another interesting tidbit of this story is that the National Park Service, already hemorrhaging more than $800 million annually in its operating funds, would actually help pay for the railroad's bombing if legislation moving through Congress gains approval.
Yep, that's right. The Park Service would be dinged, as would the U.S. Forest Service, under legislation introduced by members of Alaska's congressional delegation, to the tune of $75 million.
Now, should it come as any surprise that, according to the Missoulian, an avalanche expert who works for the Alaska Railroad Corporation actually helped write this legislation? Park Service officials testified in opposition, but, well, they don't line the pockets of senators and congressmen as do railroads.
Now, one question that I haven't seen addressed anywhere is who, in case this awful legislation gains final approval, will be responsible for hiking into Glacier's backcountry to recover any undetonated ordnance?
Think Burlington Northern executives would volunteer for the task?