Since the decision to lease coal in the Otter Creek area is again before us we hope the Montana Land Board can find the strength to deny the leasing — this time on the basis of principle rather than price. As voters we recognize that there is a lack of a commitment to conservation principles being displayed by most of the Land Board on this issue.
There is no assurance that this coal would not go to the worst polluting power plants on earth. Earlier testimony identified the “Pacific Rim” as an area with potential clients for Otter Creek coal. We can still remember how China had to “temporarily” shut down their industries to keep from choking our summer Olympians. At recent meetings in Copenhagen they offered no sign of reformation.
We all, including the Montana Land Board, have a moral obligation to not contribute to pollution, climate change, or devastate southeastern Montana lands and wildlife. The young students that the Land Board claims to speak for are going to have to try to survive the consequences of burning this dirty coal, while the Land Board ironically rationalizes going for the money for their benefit.
As Montana citizens and voters we yearn for some leadership courageous enough to take an action to contribute to a healthy planet and a verdant Montana landscape. If the only way to prevent the industrialization of this wonderful place known as Otter Creek is to use price to thwart those who would exploit it, then for now we urge the Montana Land Board to stand firm on that choice.
Thank you for taking our comments.