What does Coal Country Montana Mean?

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.


  1. Big Swede

    This is what Coal County Wyo. means.

    >>District adds 1,400 computers for instructional use

    JASA SANTOS Star-Tribune staff writer | Posted: Monday, July 28, 2008 12:00 am

    Kelly Walsh High School math teacher Jim Spaulding, center, points out a location to swim coach Dean Hawks during a scavenger hunt with GPS devices. The exercise was apart of a technology camp for teachers. Photo by Dan Cepeda, Star-Tribune.
    When school starts in August, every student at Kelly Walsh High School will have a new Apple MacBook laptop computer.
    Roughly 1,400 computers are being distributed to KW students and staff members, as the school transitions into a 1-to-1, high access environment.
    The computers are part of a $3.8 million lease purchase agreement Natrona County School District made with Apple Computers. The agreement was approved by the district’s school board in June.
    More than 3,000 computers were purchased through the agreement and will be distributed to elementary, junior high and high schools in Natrona County. Kelly Walsh, Centennial and Frontier students and staff members will receive the majority of the computers.<<<

    • JC

      So you say you like coal taxes. Think it’s time to revise the General Mining Act so the people can retrieve some of the value of the minerals that the government gives away each year?

      And you must have supported the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007, that passed the House and died in the Senate. 70% of that money would have been spent on reclamation, and 30% gone back to local communities. That kind of money can buy a lot of computers for kids. Maybe some doctors for the local health care clinics too!

      Glad you’re aboard the mining reformation movement, BS!

      • Big Swede

        You’re under the assumption that those federal tax dollars would return to the community from whence they came.

        I rather see tax collection in the form of numerous well paying jobs. Those jobs won’t materialize when mining companies and related industries can relocate to areas of low taxation.

        As in MT’s higher coal taxes vs WY’s lower rates and the effects on local school districts.

        • JC

          But you still don’t mind oil and coal taxes being used to buy computers, do you? Because, as those on the right say: “money is fungible.”

          But if you’d read the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007, you’d see that (from the CRS via GovTrack):

          “Subtitle C – Use of Hardrock Community Impact Assistance Account

          Section 421 –
          Makes the Hardrock Community Impact Assistance Account available to provide assistance for the planning, construction, and maintenance of public facilities and the provision of public services to states, political subdivisions, and Indian tribes socially or economically impacted by mineral activities conducted under the general mining laws.”

          Got a problem with that, BS?

          • Big Swede

            After reading HMR of 2007 I’m sure that no mine existing or proposed would meet the requirements.

            Certainly not the Stillwater Mine which provides tons of tax revenue directly to the state and local govts. with out being filtered thru DC.

        • How can you say WY has a lower rate for mineral taxes? WY has no state income tax and their minerals extraction has been carrying the state budget down there forever. In the past they’ve run huge surpluses, not knowing where to spend all that they’ve extracted from the extractees.

          That being said, you are falsely assuming that the otter creek coal is going to create a ton of jobs. The entire coal industry of the state of Montana doesn’t employ a thousand people, and that’s the information from the Montana Coal Council.

          • Big Swede

            You’re right Jgirl, why would we want another thousand high paying jobs when we can have windmills with a couple of causal labor guys driving around the sites in a truck picking up bat bones.

            Let me see, 1000 jobs times 100K=100000K or 100M gross yearly payroll.

            Not including al the high paying related jobs, railroad come to mind, that this industry provides.

  2. Big Swede

    Since I can’t sleep (damn cold) I’d like throw out out some more thoughts.

    The state will not stand in the way for Arch to develop its privately held tracts, estimated at 700 million tons. So we’re getting a mine and a railroad regardless. The state is contemplating the 600M tons on its land.

    I also find it curious that we’re waiting 30 more days to make this decision.

    Could it be that the powers to be were waiting for an excuse to bail? As in cap and trade gaining momentum?

    Would’ve it been easier to nix the state land development if this Climate Summit would have gone smoothly? New regulations imposed? Thirty days extension looks to me as ample time to test the winds.

    Problem is the wreckage of Copenhagen will have many consequences. Good ones for the state, bad ones for you guys.

    And this is only just the beginning.

  1. 1 What Does Coal Country Montana Mean, Part II « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] this previous post, there is commentator that apparently thinks that the only factor important in deciding what to do […]

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