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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 09:34 AM

Montana Ranchers Worried About Long-Term Impacts Of Otter Creek Coal - And They're In The Minority


The McRaes and some of their neighbors say the Tongue River Railroad, and a proposed coal mine at Otter Creek, puts southeast Montana and ranchers like them at risk for an energy plan that mainly benefits Asia.

"It's going to cross our land, wreak havoc with our water, go through our towns," Clint McRae said recently, sitting in the rustic wood house his father built, its hearth hewn from local stone. The Montana ranchers are in the minority. For many others, coal has been one of the few good things to come out of a region so barren it sent many early homesteaders fleeing to greener lands farther west.

The Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming already is producing 42% of the nation's coal, and with diminishing U.S. markets, producers are mounting a push to serve booming Asian industrial centers. Authorities are reviewing permits for four coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon that would ship up to 150 million tons of coal a year including coal from Otter Creek across the Pacific.

The issue has quickly become the hottest environmental debate in the Pacific Northwest. Nearly 9,000 people showed up at recent hearings on the export terminal proposed near Bellingham, Wash. More than 14,000 comments were collected, pitting those hoping for a new U.S. energy bonanza against citizens concerned about coal dust pollution and increased rail traffic.



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Reply Montana Ranchers Worried About Long-Term Impacts Of Otter Creek Coal - And They're In The Minority (Original post)
hatrack Apr 2013 OP
gejohnston Apr 2013 #1

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:30 AM

1. I agree with the ranchers,

but then I like wilderness more than coal. The bright side is that the western coal is low sulfur. WV coal is high sulfur and contributes to acid rain.

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