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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.

(PD)

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."

(PD)

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.

Montana Capitol
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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