Water and Coal and Conflicting Sentiments from a Missoula City Council Person

by lizard

Missoula’s city council voted 10-2 last night to give Mayor Engen the authority to enter into negotiations with the Carlyle Group for the opportunity to purchase what should never have been sold in the first place—our water. I am cautiously optimistic the Mayor can pull it off.

Dick Haines and Adam Hertz were the two dissenting votes, and the reasoning Hertz gave was a bit odd. From the link:

Councilman Hertz, who opposed the ordinance, said he felt like he was being asked to base his decision on feelings instead of figures. He wanted more details about a variety of the related costs before voting on a measure that might lead the city down a costly road of condemnation.

“I’d like to make a decision based on facts, and I haven’t seen any financial projections whatsoever come out of the administration,” Hertz said.

The reason I find this reasoning odd is the juxtaposition to Hertz’s shaming campaign against liberals regarding coal development on the Crow Reservation.

On October 18th, Hertz tweeted this:

Many liberals take pride in supporting tribes. Support the Crow tribe. Don’t block their coal-paved path away from 50% unemployment. #MTPol

Gideon Jones tweeted back several replies, including these:

@AdamHertzMT Several decades of coal mining on AZ, UT and NM reservations didn’t alleviate poverty there. #MTpol

@AdamHertzMT Coal mining did however destroy their aquifers, agriculture, and health. #MTpol

@AdamHertzMT No one buys this selective right wing ‘concern’ for the tribes. Transparent and disingenuous. #MTpol

Hertz’s response? This:

@GideonTJones I’m from the Flathead Indian Reservation. I genuinely care about the tribes. They’ll succeed through opportunity, not subsidy.

As I had suspected, the liberals are up in arms about the Crow people asking them to stay out of their business and stop blocking progress.

One of the problems with Hertz’s last statement is the idea that coal production is only the business of the Crow people. It’s not. It’s also the business of those who live along the transportation infrastructure that will carry the coal to the proposed port, and it’s the business of all us silly humans who breath air in order to live.

In China, where much of this coal will end up, a city of 11 million people was essentially shutdown Monday due to smog:

Choking smog all but shut down one of northeastern China’s largest cities on Monday, forcing schools to suspended classes, snarling traffic and closing the airport, in the country’s first major air pollution crisis of the winter.

An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts of Harbin, the gritty capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province and home to some 11 million people.

A level above 300 is considered hazardous, while the World Health Organisation recommends a daily level of no more than 20.

The smog not only forced all primary and middle schools to suspend classes, but shut the airport and some public bus routes, the official Xinhua news agency reported, blaming the emergency on the first day of the heating being turned on in the city for winter. Visibility was reportedly reduced to 10 meters.

Go to the Reuters piece for pictures of what this pollution crisis looks like.

Darrin Old Coyote makes his case for the tribe in this op-ed. Here is a small excerpt:

Opportunities for job creation and investment in Montana’s Indian Country are frustratingly scarce. Today, the Crow Tribe has a rare window of opportunity before it, and we are doing everything in our power to take advantage of it before that window closes.

What is this “window of opportunity” and why is there a need to rush this project through? Well, because Montanans may be inclined to support the expansion of an EIS (environmental impact statement) that could slow down the transportation and export of Crow coal:

But this opportunity depends, in part, on the construction of new export facilities on the West Coast. Asking the Army Corps to expand the EIS will certainly delay, and could possibly prevent, the construction of the Millennium port.

Requesting that the scope of this EIS look at environmental impacts in Montana is an unprecedented move and outside the bounds of what most of us think should be included in an environmental review for a coastal port.

For our plans to create jobs and bring new investment to succeed, we must do all we can to see that the construction of new coal export facilities is not impeded unreasonably. I would respectfully request that you at least remain neutral on this issue and not encourage an EIS process that would obstruct important economic opportunities for the Crow Tribe and the state of Montana.

For those who understand the challenges humans will continue to face because of climate change, remaining neutral isn’t an option. More information about the potential environmental impacts should be welcomed by someone who claims to want facts and not emotion to inform his decision.

  1. Big Swede

    My wife’s great grand father homesteaded outside of Miles City.

    Several times a year he’d hitch up the team and buck board drive them to the nearest coal cut and hand shovel the stuff into the back. When he’d get home he’d again shovel the coal into a coal shed, then he’d take a bucket and load the stove hundreds of times until he made the trip again.

    I have his stove in the bunkhouse. Straight 8 inch pipe in thru the ceiling. Sometimes he would tell us that the stove would back up and fill the cabin with black smoke.

    And yet he lived to 91. His eight children all lived into their eighties and beyond, some are still living.

    So I repeat myself. Are you a useful idiot or a puppeteer?

    • lizard19

      I am an agent of Agenda 21 using shadow language like sustainability to mask my real intention of destroying capitalism and ushering in a new era of socialist control over liberty loving patriots like yourself.

      does that answer your question?

      • Of course, a reply to the squarehead is not needed.

        Thanks, Liz, for the succinct parody.

        P.S. Sorry about not recognizing your piece on AGW for what it was, despite the initial lack of the *sarcasm* alert. I just went back and read the other eloquent responses, as I’d initially forgotten to leave a feedback request.

      • Big Swede

        Sarcastic deflection. Could be a tool of the men behind the curtain.

        So Liz, how on God’s (or Gaia’s) green earth did my wife’s desendents live such lengthy lives?

      • An opinion piece in a right wing magazine isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Please give us better sources if you’re going to contest the $24 billion shutdown loss (from S&P) contention.

        I sit on the board of a public agency in a rural area that was informed by the state that it could not provide any but the most critical services during the shutdown. It could not write checks for those services. How many tens of thousands of times was that replicated around the country?

        That Forbes twit has apparently never heard of the “multiplier effect” though he claims to understand macro-economics.

        Right. I bet he can speak Etruscan fluently as well.

    • mike

      not really useful, but idjit will work

  2. Air’s not important. Look at the news from Harbin yesterday. How much of that coal moved through MT?

    But the price is right. When I lived in China we boiled our water. You could buy bottled water but tests showed it had more heavy metal matter in it on average than the stuff from the tap.

    I don’t have to boil water here, which I’m thankful for, but I see no reason, as a renter not paying for water, why I should care one iota about the city’s desire to buy some water company.

    I mean, if the state doesn’t feel it needs its own energy companies what the hell do we need water for?

  3. Craig Moore

    Speaking of China, did you know that coal will exceed oil? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/14/world-coal-consumption-oil_n_4095221.html

    World Coal Consumption To Surpass Oil By 2020 Due To Rising Demand In China And India

    DAEGU, South Korea, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Coal will surpass oil as the key fuel for the global
    economy by 2020 despite government efforts to reduce carbon emissions, energy consultancy firm
    Wood Mackenzie said on Monday.

    Rising demand in China and India will push coal past oil as the two Asian powerhouses will need
    to rely on the comparatively cheaper fuel to power their economies. Coal demand in the United
    States, Europe and the rest of Asia will hold steady.

    Global coal consumption is expected to rise by 25 percent by the end of the decade to 4,500
    million tonnes of oil equivalent, overtaking oil at 4,400 million tonnes, according to Woodmac
    in a presentation on Monday at the World Energy Congress.

    “China’s demand for coal will almost single-handedly propel the growth of coal as the dominant
    global fuel,” said William Durbin, president of global markets at Woodmac. “Unlike alternatives,
    it is plentiful and affordable.”

    China – already the top consumer – will drive two-thirds of the growth in global coal use this
    decade. Half of China’s power generation capacity to be built between 2012 and 2020 will be
    coal-fired, said Woodmac.

    China has no alternative to coal, with its domestic gas output limited and liquefied natural gas
    (LNG) imports more costly than coal, Durbin said.

    “Renewables cannot provide base load power. This leaves coal as the primary energy source,” he said.


    Power infrastructure provider Alstom estimated that across Asia close to half of the 600
    gigawatt of new power generators to be built over the next five years will be coal-fired, Giles
    Dickson, a vice president at the company said.

    Now the Crow tribe knows this about China and India. Should they not use the opportunity to help their people?

    • lizard19

      sure, they might as well cash in now, because future generations will probably be fucked no matter what we do at this point. we can’t stop what’s coming.

    • mike

      No, their attempt to raise their standard of living is evil and unamerican but the progs will save them and bestow milions of dollars at their feet, because tourism creates lots of GREAT JOBZ, just ask Tom Power full on derpster.

      Hows about you prog twits stay the fuck out of the Crow tribes business. You are in bingo mode Craig, these fucks deign to know what is better for the Crow tribe because they know what is best for them, This is racism by the prog trolls who by their stupidity have decided that the Crows aren’t able to determine what is in their best interests.

      I’m guessing that the Crow tribe will make the best decision in their self interest, as they should.


  4. Global Outrage at Dirty Coal Threatens Investors’ Profits
    By Juan Cole, Informed Comment
    23 November 13

    he divestment movement on US college campuses against Big Carbon (coal, oil and gas) signals more than just the arrival of a new, determined and idealistic generation of students. It is a harbinger of danger for investors.

    In addition to the keen competition thermal coal is facing as a source for electricity generation from fracked natural gas and from wind turbines, coal in particular faces a major public relations problem. It is the dirtiest way of producing electricity, causing lung problems and probably contributing to autism via mercury emissions, and it is the major cause of global warming.

    The value of coal stocks is to outward seeming backed by trillions of dollars in coal reserves, but what if that substance is actually worthless? Coal is already being shorted by a major brokerage, which points out that even heavily coal-dependent China plans to move away from the fuel because of pollution concerns (like that coal plants are making the air thick as pea soup and giving small children lung cancer).

    Canada’s major Ontario province (as populous as Illinois) is banning coal plants, with the last one to be closed by the end of this year. Wind, nuclear and natural gas have taken coal’s place. Wind and nuclear do not produce C02, and natural gas produces about half as much as coal. The feed-in tariff has also been important in encouraging renewables.

    Local politicians are beginning to win races with an anti-coal platform, showing the sea change in public attitudes.

    The pro-Carbon right wing government of Australia is facing growing public anti-coal protests.

    Proposals for new coal plants are meeting with public opposition. Moreover, investors in companies planning to invest in coal-related projects are beginning openly to ask how they intend to secure the projects against sabotage by environmental activists. Since coal is destroying the earth, some people may mind it being mined and burned.

    So many coal plants are closing in places like Massachusetts that communities are trying to replace the income by asking for redevelopment help. Even proponents of coal and its profits admit that the plants made local residents sick (can you say “black lung”?)

    The dangers of coal ash are also increasingly being recognized by activists. Most people don’t stop to think that most coal gets around by rail, and that the rail cars carrying it are emitting coal dust and dangerous substances such as arsenic.

    India is now witnessing the stirrings of a nation-wide anti-coal movement that is protesting in cities across the country. Even not counting climate change impacts and sea level rise that will menace Bengal, Indian coal plants kill 120,000 people a year.

    As with tobacco, where consumer lawsuits gradually began succeeding as judges and juries came to recognize that the substance causes cancer and that the companies had tried to obscure the dangers, so too with coal, consumers damaged by its burning may before too long be able to collect damages. Indeed, in the US, the Sierra Club has had some success in closing coal plants through law suits pointing out that they are in contravention of environmental laws (they are very dirty and put out loads of toxins in addition to their fatal carbon dioxide pollution).

    They college students urging disinvestment may be wiser than we realize. Universities that hold stock in coal companies may be victims of a Madoff hoax- the collateral backing their value, coal itself, may be worthless or worst, it may be a legal liability. Universities and other investors would be wise to get out of those stocks before this fact comes to be generally recognized.

    • Craig Moore


      After the tsunami destroyed the Fukushima plants, Germany moved quickly to shut eight nuclear power plants, and made plans do away completely with their nuclear capability. Despite the best safety record of any industry in the country, and the critical role nuclear plays in fueling German industry, Germany’s past experience with large tsunamis was just too horrific to ignore. And Germany’s strong economy and commitment to protect the environment were small prices to pay for Chancellor Merkel to shore up her weak coalition with the Free Democrats. Maybe she can ask Greece for help later.

      But don’t worry. Germany is building about 25 clean coal-fired power plants to offset the loss of nuclear and address Germany’s admittedly “unaffordably expensive and unreliable” renewable portfolio (Der Spiegel). The German Green Party can now celebrate the opening of a 2,200 MW coal-fired power plant near Cologne. It started spewing out its annual, relatively clean, 13 million tons of CO2, and other nasties, so much lower than those older dirty coal plants that would have put out 15 million tons of CO2 for the same power output.

      Meanwhile in Japan…. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/23/national/tepco-mitsubishi-group-to-build-coal-fired-plants-in-fukushima/

      Tokyo Electric Power Co. will construct two cutting-edge coal-fired power stations in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the wrecked No. 1 nuclear plant, in conjunction with three Mitsubishi group firms, sources said Saturday.

      The two facilities, with an output of 500,000 kw each, will be built in the city of Iwaki and the town of Hirono. Their combined capacity will be equivalent to that of one nuclear reactor, and they are projected to start operations around 2020, the sources said.

  1. 1 Of Course Tim Fox Shills for Coal, He’s a Montana Politician | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] I can understand why the Cowgirl wouldn’t want to get too much into that whole coal thing, considering our former Governor was such an irresponsible cheerleader for coal, but that’s what this is about. I wrote a post about this last month when Missoula city councilman, Adam Hertz, went on a brief shame campaign for coal. […]

  2. 2 Does Coal Cash Turn Protestors into Hippiecrites? | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Water and Coal and Conflicting Sentiments from a Missoula City Council Person […]

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