It’s Time to Protect Montana From Dirty, Dangerous Coal Export Projects!

Montana is under threat from some of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies.  Dirty energy giants like Arch Coal want to open new public lands to mining so they can sell more coal overseas.  Along the way, they plan to turn our state into a global sacrifice zone for international energy markets. 

It’s time to stand up and protect our health, environment, and climate from Arch Coal and other companies’ coal extraction plans.  Blue Skies is working to build a movement to stop coal pollution, and you can help us win.  Here’s what we’re fighting to stop:

Coal Mines Damage Ranch Land

For decades, ranchers in Eastern Montana have made a living off the land, benefiting local economies while caring for the environment.  Now, expanded coal mining threatens to permanently degrade valuable ranchland while polluting and depleting community water supplies.  In eastern Montana’s dry environment, vegetation takes an unusually long time to recover from mining.  Meanwhile, removal of coal from the ground robs the earth of a natural water filtration system.  With reduced natural vegetation for livestock to graze, and less clean water for farming, agriculture in Montana becomes more difficult as coal mining expands.  Learn more about the impacts of coal mining on ranch land

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Coal Trains Pollute Communities
From the mines, Montana coal is loaded into trains for transport.  These trains now service existing US coal plants and existing coal export terminals in Canada—but if coal companies get their way, the number of trains will increase dramatically to feed new coal terminals on the US coast.  While traveling to the West Coast uncovered coal trains pass through Billings, Livingston, Bozeman, Helena, Missoula, and dozens of other rail line communities, which are already affected by toxic coal dust, diesel fumes, and noise pollution.  Exporting more coal out of Montana would subject rail line communities to even more severe levels of pollution.  See how coal trains impact rail line communities in Missoula

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Coal is Slowing the Global Shift to Clean Energy 
From the West Coast, coal companies hope to ship their product overseas to China, India, and other growing economies.  There, rural villages are fighting the construction of some of the biggest new coal plants in the world—projects that threaten air and water quality, and traditional ways of life in these countries.  By fueling these damaging plants, coal export projects threaten to exacerbate global environmental injustices, while delaying the transition to clean energy throughout the world.  Learn about one Chinese community’s resistance to dirty coal projects

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Photo credit: Missoulian

Photo credit: Missoulian

Coal Causes Climate Change 
Carbon emissions from smokestacks fueled by US coal exports would contribute to global warming, threatening Montana with longer droughts, worse fire seasons, and more severe pest outbreaks.  Arch Coal’s proposed Otter Creek coal export mine alone would add 2.5 billion tons of climate-warming pollution to the atmosphere, if all the coal were to be extracted and burned.  It’s time to embrace our state’s immense potential for renewable energy, and stop investing in new fossil fuel projects that destabilize our climate.