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Firm stance needed on coal leasing

2010-02-15T00:13:00Z Firm stance needed on coal leasingBy GAYLE JOSLIN and JIM POSEWITZ, IR Your Turn Helena Independent Record

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.

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(10) Comments

  1. 4fishing
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    4fishing - March 08, 2010 3:15 pm
    This is what recovery should look like... create jobs, we need the money!!
  2. johnpettyjohn
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    johnpettyjohn - February 19, 2010 2:06 pm
    I am replying to a letter publisher in my home town paper, written by two of Helena’s citizens. It seems that Gayle Joslin and Jim Posewitz are a little hysterical about Otter Creek. They were thrilled that environmentalists had apparently influenced the Montana Land Board in pushing the bonus bid for development rights to Otter Creek coal up. The Land Board set the bonus bid at 143 million dollars which was excessive. By the February 8th deadline they received no bids. Joslin and Posewitz applauded what they perceived as the State Land Board giving coal producers the finger. Not so fast Gayle and Jim. It looks like the Land Board has reduced the bonus bid by 57 million dollars.

    Our position here in Wyoming is that coal is clean, abundant, and the best value for energy production. Our coal companies, of their own volition, strive to improve processes, increase BTU’s produced per pound, and look for ways to make clean coal even cleaner. If there are breakthroughs in clean coal, those will happen in Wyoming. If we can figure out how to make coal as clean as wind, we’ll freely share that technology with the world. China, India and Russia will embrace those technologies when they make fiscal sense and not before. A breakthrough in Wyoming could do more to clean up the planet than all the environmentalists put together have ever done.

    It seems like environmentalism as a religion is very powerful. In spite of the Kevin Trenberth and the e-mail scandals, Phil Jones admission of data manipulation, Al Gore being challenged in court on major assertions in his movie, and Yvo de Boer resigning his U.N. position, and on and on, there might be a little back peddling. Not a chance!
  3. a_thought
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    a_thought - February 17, 2010 9:06 pm
    I firmly stand with anyone who wants to use our natural resources and I encourage everybody to stand up against these people who want to regulate everything and stifle growth. Now that the left is on the run(think massachusetts) it is time to dismantle these crazy environmental regs and move forward with using our resources.
  4. HakonMontag
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    HakonMontag - February 16, 2010 11:25 am
    chumley (Tennessee Tuxedos' cohort?)

    Sometimes it is about jobs. No one here is saying to use these coal resources here in Montana in old out of date coal fired plants.

    Sell the coal to China...before they demand we simply give it to them to repay the debt we owe them. Sell the coal to Poland, let them worry about how to use it best.

    Create jobs, that this generation of Montanans need, make money for this generation of Montanans uses.

    Sitting on it does absolutely nothing good for anyone. Sometimes 4th, 5th, or 6th generation doesn't know all the answers.
  5. chumley
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    chumley - February 16, 2010 10:05 am

    Making money and creating jobs isn't everything. The fact is that the coal-fired power plants Colstrip have left mercury-laiden ponds and reservoirs in the shadow of the smokestack fallout. Which is why Montana ranchers and farmers living and working in the area generally oppose this venture.Everything isn't always "progressives, the liberals, the left, environmentalists, yada yada" that stands in the way of your silly right wing agendas. Sometimes its just 4th/5th/6th generation Montanans, typically lifelong Republicans, who have seen first hand the effect pollution has had on their property.

  6. checolbar
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    checolbar - February 16, 2010 8:53 am
    Ridiculous article!
    The coal is there to mine and to be used.
    Let's get it priced so it will create Montana jobs and be a valuable resource!
    Let's get this started NOW!
  7. Therightchange
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    Therightchange - February 15, 2010 2:22 pm
    It is really to bad that those of you who think that doing nothing with the land is actually conservation have no idea of the harm you are doing to the future of Montana. You want to find courage then find a politician that will move ahead with development that will provide jobs and a future for Montana families. Turning Montana into a wildlife preserve is not conservation and will do nothing to make the planet a better place.
  8. waterunderground
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    waterunderground - February 15, 2010 10:23 am
    I was talking to somebody that was knowlegable obout this development who thought that the Otter Creek development was acually moving forward as an excuse to justify the long proposed Powder River Railroad. That rail line will bring coal from Wyoming mines to rail lines headed east. Could be that Otter Creek would never produce the revenue for the State of Montana that have been touted to justify the leases. And here the only potential bidder has complained that a 25 cent a ton tax is too much to make the development economically feasable?
    I say, leave the coal in the ground until either the market or the technology makes it more worthwhile and lowers the potential environmental impacts.
  9. HakonMontag
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    HakonMontag - February 15, 2010 9:47 am
    Yup, sure enough, it was in there.

    The recent use of the buzzword courageous has become the calling card of the progressives and their ongoing onslaught against making money and creating jobs. To be sure coal is a pollutant and should be used with proper care and precautions. Which can be done. If they had their way it wouldn't get used at all.

    The coal trust fund that is often bantered about in the Montana press isn't worth a wooden nickel if it isn't sold. Actually a wooden nickel is worth more if it, the coal, isn't sold.

    Montana needs money, Montana needs jobs. Selling the coal will do both things at once.
  10. tacoshmitty
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    tacoshmitty - February 15, 2010 7:37 am
    Well said you guys. Responsible land use over profit and pollution? Wow, what an idea.

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