coal

Coal & Oil Taxes On Tuesday's Legislative Agenda

Mar 23, 2015
William Marcus

Tuesday at the Montana Legislature, one state legislator goes on the defensive to protect Colstrip power plants and the surrounding community. Senator Duane Ankney is from Colstrip and says House Bill 402 is meant to keep the coal-fired plants in business.

Recently, Washington’s state Senate passed a bill to research the effects of Washington utilities closing some coal-powered utilities including the Colstrip Generating Station, which is partially owned by Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy.

Former Montana Senator, and current Ambassador to China, Max Baucus returned to his home state for the first time in over a year Monday night.

Baucus addressed a Montana Chamber of Commerce gathering in Helena. He said China's economic output is on track to surpass the U.S. in about 10 years, but that means increased opportunities for some Montana industries, such as energy. Montana can supply China with coal, and with technology to burn that coal cleanly, now that China has agreed to slow its growth in carbon emissions.

Legislators Weigh Lawsuit Over Out Of State Coal Ports

Mar 13, 2015

Montana legislators are considering giving $1 million to the Montana Department of Justice for a potential lawsuit against states hindering Montana’s coal trains from getting to larger markets. Namely, markets like China.

Eric Whitney

About 80 climate change activists rallied in Missoula this morning.

Led by Jeff Smith of the group 350Missoula, they gathered in front of Senator Steve Daines’ office here. There were there to, they said, “protest the senator’s denial of climate change science and his support for fossil fuel projects like coal exports, the Otter Creek Coal Mine, and the Keystone XL pipeline."

Rep. Ripley Would Cap Coal Trust At $1Billion

Feb 23, 2015
Flickr user wsilver

State lawmakers are considering a proposal to ask voters to cap the Constitutionally protected Coal Tax Trust at one-billion dollars. Senate Bill 353 would divert some of coal severance tax money that goes into the trust into an account to fund infrastructure projects. 

Coal-Impacted Counties Seek Increased Infrastructure Funding

Feb 4, 2015
Montana Coal Council

Coal-impacted counties say they are desperate for funds to fix roads, water systems, and to pay for  schools, but the grant source for those projects is short of money.

They’re asking lawmakers to temporarily bump up funding for the coal board.

American taxpayers are losing out on about $210 million a year in federal coal royalties. That’s according to the  Bozeman-based non-profit, "Headwaters Economics".

Mark Haggerty, with Headwaters, says coal companies aren’t being taxed as much as federal law allows.

“The problem that we've encountered is that the current royalty structure is relatively opaque and we don't have a really good sense of what kind of return we're getting.”

Amy R. Sisk

The Bakken oil boom in Montana has already busted. That’s according to Terry Johnson, director of energy research at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic research.

"I would argue that the Bakken boom in Montana actually occurred back in 2005 and 2006. That the boom is really no longer that present in Montana at this point in time."

Southeastern Montana's Crow Nation says President Obama’s pending climate plan would wreak economic havoc on the already-impoverished reservation.

Under the administration's proposal, states must reduce their carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is going up to bat for the Crow Nation. Fox says he's troubled by how the President is unilaterally guiding this climate proposal.

Eric Whitney

The start of the 2015 Legislative session is still seven weeks away, but a group of Democratic lawmakers, scientists, and activists is already working to frame a possible legislative debate on climate change. 

Among those who spoke at a climate change-focused news conference on Thursday was Dave Chadwick, Executive Director of the Montana Wildlife Federation. He says even without the EPA pressuring the state to cut its carbon emissions by 20 percent in 15 years, slowing or reversing climate change would still be a priority, to save the state’s hunting and fishing industry.

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