[MCN] Let's Stop This Delusional Railroad

Jeffrey J. Smith yswolfhowl at gmail.com
Tue Jun 9 19:08:49 EDT 2015

A federal agency, the Surface Transportation Board, is taking public
comments from all Americans on the cumulative environmental impacts of a
proposed 60-mile spur line from the Otter Creek coal mine in southeastern
Montana to the main line at Miles City.

The board's analysis concludes that there are no impacts on our climate
because the coal from Otter Creek would replace Powder River Basin coal
already being sold! The analysis skirts the issue of the environmental
impacts of increased rail traffic when the Arch Coal Company hauls the coal
through Missoula and hundreds of other communities along the 1,000-mile
route to the West Coast. We deserve a complete environmental analysis of
this very likely alternative.
As economist Tom Power and others have shown, there is no market for Otter
Creek coal in the domestic United States. So the Arch Coal, Berkshire
Hathaway's Warren Buffet (who owns the Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Railroad), and Mars Candy billionaire Forrest Mars, Jr., have to build this
railroad to move 1.5 billion tons of coal mined at Otter Creek to West
Coast ports for export and incineration in Asia.

Let's just tell them NO!

There are no public hearings in western Montana. All of them are in eastern
Montana. The good news is that last night in Ashland, Montana, there were
no supporters for the railroad at the public hearing of over 100 people.

The poet Wally McRae gave them hell, saying, “People that are employed by
two billionaires that are promoting this railroad don’t feel any need to be
here,” McRae said, referring to [Forrest] Mars and BNSF owner Warren
Buffett. “But they are being represented, even though they aren’t here.
They are being represented by people from Washington, D.C., who have no
concept whatsoever of Northern Cheyenne culture, of Amish culture, of the
code of the west.”

Deadline for comments is AUGUST 24.

You can submit comments electronically through 350 Missoula's comment page:


Or directly through the Surface Transportation Board:

Montana and the nation should be transitioning to clean energy. We can't
let coal companies and bought-and-paid-for politicians keep us locked into
coal dependence for the next several decades. By saying NO to coal export
projects like the Otter Creek Mine, Montanans can play a crucial role in
international efforts to combat climate change and do our part to leave
fossil fuels in the ground.
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