Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has been making deals with Australia and China to sell them coal from Montana, which has the largest coal reserves of any state in the U.S.
As a result, an Australian company said it is buying an interest in coal mines in Montana and Wyoming, a move that comes as interest increases in shipping the product overseas to feed growing energy demands in Asia.
Montana Governor Selling Out To Foreign Coal Companies
From The Missoulian:
“This is a good company from Australia who is well funded, well banked, and they have bought a mine in Montana and have every intention to ship it to Asia,” Schweitzer said. “It’s a great story. My role in this is a catalyst to bring some capital to a resource in Montana.”
According to Schweitzer, the coal mine deal represents a chance to further expand energy development in eastern Montana. The governor said he expects the biggest demand for the product will be overseas. Since many of Montana’s coal resources are yet untapped, this is an indication that he could open them up and wreak havoc on the state’s environment.
Ambre Energy Limited said it bought a 50 percent interest in the Decker Coal Company in southern Montana and the Black Butte Coal Company in Wyoming, along with an interest in other coal reserves in the region. The company did not disclose the price. Earlier this year they bought an interest in a Columbia River shipping port near Longview, Washington.
The company said the coal plant deal was initiated at the urging of Schweitzer, who introduced the parties and has been looking for ways to develop more Montana resources.
Destruction Of Beautiful Montana
As someone who has spent many vacations hiking and backpacking in the amazing Montana wildness, I am outraged and also deeply saddened.
And now Governor Schweitzer plans on making a deal with China.
Will Montana Become A Coal Colony?
This excerpt from Matthew Frank, in the Missoula Independent, speaks eloquently:
With the heavy spring rains, the Otter Creek Valley, in southeastern Montana, glows green in early July, dotted with sage and bright patches of yellow clover and wild mustard. Ranchland rises gently toward rugged hills and buttes. Otter Creek twists a narrow channel through the middle, reflecting clouds. Otter Creek Road follows the creek. Few pickups pass between the unincorporated community of Otter to the south and the one-gas-station town of Ashland to the north.
A month before and about 6,000 miles away, in Beijing, a city of 20 million, where enveloping smog obscures the surrounding mountains, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer spoke of this Montana valley—or, rather, what’s beneath it. The governor of the state with the greatest coal reserves keynoted a coal conference sponsored by Peabody Energy, the largest private coal company in the world, with massive operations in northeast Wyoming, just south of Otter. Schweitzer and coal companies such as Peabody see economic opportunity in exporting coal to China and other energy-hungry Asian markets. More than a billion tons of coal beneath the Otter Creek Valley could be shipped and burned there.
Establishing New Coal Mines Is Dangerous And Irresponsible
It’s not just about destroying beautiful scenery. At a time when climate change is doing irreversible damage to our planet’s ecosystems, the establishment of any new coal mines is both dangerous and irresponsible.
If you believe that what Montana’s governor is doing is an outrage, please click here to send a letter to Governor Schweitzer telling him that these coal deals are a bad idea.
Photo Credit: SPZahn