Archive for November 30th, 2009

by jhwygirl

We’ve blogged a number of times here about the Tongue River, coal and sequestration fallacies, and the state’s Otter Creek tracts – all of these are intertwined with a number of issues that are presenting themselves currently in the form of the state determining whether leasing of its own property for coal is a responsible decision.

As The State, the Land Board (comprised of the state’s 5 highest office holders) is beholden to the public. They have a responsibility to make the best decision for the long term of both the land and the public. Generating $ is a priority, but it has to be done responsibly.

The Bozeman office of the Sierra Club has been active with public outreach regarding the issues surrounding the Otter Creek tracts (picked up in trade-off for that failed gold mine near the east entrance of Yellowstone). Tuesday, at 6:30 p.m., the Sierra Club will be screening the movie Coal Country along with hosting a discussion regarding coal and its related issues (environment, jobs, school funding) and what it means for Montana. All this being held in that lovely new Bozeman Public Library at 626 E. Main.

So folks out Bozeman/Belgrade/Livingston way? Get thee to that public library, and maybe learn a little more about how it isn’t just about digging a little bit of coal out of the ground.

by jhwygirl

The state Land Board is currently mulling an additional 30 days over the coal leases in the Powder River drainage (the Otter Creek coal leases), giving members time to consider the applicability of a year-old market analysis on the value of the coal (which was compiled pre-EPA ruling and pre-cap-and-trade legislation). They’re probably also looking at the rest of the Major Conceptual and Factual Errors, brought to you courtesy The Button Valley Bugle.

The Bugle does, indeed, a fabulous job on the fallacy surrounding coal’s myriad of boondoggles – sequestration, gasification – and Sunday’s article Subsidizing Carbon Pollution is a must-read.

Coal has been around powering industry for what? Forever? Yet it still needs subsidy? And the stuff isn’t even renewable or sustainable? It defies logic, it really does.

All that aside, with a severely depressed market for coal (as reported by the Wall Street Journal) and significant unknowns such as cap-and-trade legislation and criteria for co2 emissions on coal-fired plants post-EPA ruling, coal’s value is really a wildcard – and the state Land Board is making its decision based purely what is in the best long term interests of of the state’s land, both environmentally (long term) and in profitability (short term). At this point, it seems disingenuous to claim some inflated value as potential revenue when the facts used to reach that inflated value are clearly not relevant due to significant changes in the legislative and regulatory environment.

Peruse information on Otter Creek – the state has a website as well – and consider contacting the Land Board telling them that the mining of Otter Creek is bad policy for the state and bad terms for the state trust. You can find contact information here.

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