Letter: Stand up for state agriculture – Helena Independent Record, June 11, 2013

June 11, 2013

Categories: Agriculture, Coal, Letters

http://helenair.com/news/opinion/readers_alley/stand-up-for-state-agriculture/article_255abc1a-d1f3-11e2-8721-0019bb2963f4.html

Agriculture is Montana’s no. 1 industry. Coal mining provided 1,199 jobs in Montana in 2011 (source: countoncoalmontana.org.) Not even close to being the biggest economic driver in Montana.

Despite these facts, the Otter Creek coal mine development and the Tongue River Railroad are being proposed even though they would harm agriculture. Developing the mine will permanently ruin good ranchland. The railroad will cut ranches in half, disrupting their operations and destroying their property values. Many of these ranches have been in the same families for over a hundred years. The coal mine would last for 55 years at the most and leave permanently scars on the land.

Developing the mine and the railroad would also mean a huge increase in rail traffic through Montana which would displace grain shippers currently using the tracks to get their products to market.

Does this make any sense? Why would we favor a dying and destructive industry over a sustainable and thriving agricultural economy? The Otter Creek mine has yet to be permitted. Montanans ought to stand up for our farmers and ranchers and oppose any mining development that hurts agriculture.

Jim Kammerer
Helena

NORTHERN PLAINS RESOURCE COUNCIL
220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154
info@northernplains.org