Montana is Not the Saudi Arabia of Coal

by jhwygirl

Nor is the U.S, either….

Via Supermontanareporter John S. Adams’ The Lowdown:

While there is almost certainly as much coal in the ground as Mr. Warholic’s Energy Information Administration believes, relatively little of it can be profitably extracted. Last year, the U.S. Geological Survey completed an extensive analysis of Wyoming’s Gillette coal field, the nation’s largest and most productive, and determined that less than 6% of the coal in its biggest beds could be mined profitably, even at prices higher than today’s.

The gist? We might have a whole lot of it, but we keep taking a whole lot of it, every year, out of the ground. No one’s been accounting for that, even though everyone has been saying that we got hundreds of years of that stuff around. A full half of U.S. electricity is generated by burning coal. That a whole hell of a lot coal that has been burned for decades and decades that really hasn’t been added into that statement.

Adams gets all the main points and a little more: We can’t profitably get at that coal, even if the price goes up. Coal is a major contributor to carbon emissions (the coal-burning industry has long gotten a free pass on this from the EPA, until recently), and the U.S. is currently inching closer and closer to cap-and-trade legislation that will make coal that much more expensive.

He goes on to note that Montana is well-poised to be “the Saudi Arabia of wind,” which is something I’ve said, although not exactly as economically (and colorfully) as Adams did.

Read his whole post. He’s got lots of good links, and, as I said, he’s covering all the salient points and a little bit more.

Considering we owe all kinds of money to all kinds of countries, and our military can’t run on wind or solar, AND our kids aren’t getting any smarter and math and science, and we’re really going to need to have that kind of brain trust to help solve our dependency on carbon fuels, maybe it’s wiser to keep that coal around for the military as part of strategic reserves and reduce consumer dependency as soon as possible while working towards technology that will all but eliminate our general consumer dependency on the stuff?

I know…more crazy talk.

  1. goof houlihan

    The Governor is the King Faisal of Hot Wind

  2. Matthew Koehler

    Speaking of hot wind, I find it funny that when BS started his early campaigning against Burns he was going around telling everyone that “Montana is the Saudi Arabia of wind!” I guess that was before he became the Coal Cowboy.

  1. 1 Action Item: Otter Creek Coal at State Land Board Monday, 9 a.m. « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] isn’t clean. Montana is not the Saudi Arabia of coal as the Governor and Arch Coal and Great Northern would want us to believe. Many organizations have […]

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