Open letter to Montana and Wyoming: I thought we were friends?
April 3rd -
Montana, Wyoming we need to talk. What happened, I thought we were friends? We love your national parks, we ski your mountains, a lot of people even consider us all Northwesterners! (Although in spite of recent events, we might have to vote on kicking you out of the club.)
So why does coal have to come between us? We understand you have a ton of it (350-450 million tons/year) and we’ve been using some of it (OR gets 30% of its energy from coal, WA about 15%). But we’re really trying to turn over a new leaf and go on a pollution diet and you trying to send coal trains through our backyards is not helping. Our doctors said coal isn’t good for us and that your trains will clog our traffic arteries (up to 47 1.5 mile long trains/day).
We’ve been trying to tell you we’re going to get off of coal for years now. We aren’t very excited about these coal export terminals and we are thinking about shutting down the coal we already buy (*Oregon even has a ballot initiative to get ride of coal completely).
But now we find out you’re doing everything you can to keep us on coal as long as possible. Wyoming you approved a bill to issue $1 billion in bonds to finance Northwest coal export terminals. Montana you set aside $1 million to sue Washington if we don’t approve coal export. That one stung guys. Wyoming you're already appealing Oregon’s decision to deny one terminal a major permit. Montana your even introducing a bill that would force Washington to pay your state’s bills if we pull away from the coal we buy from Colstrip (8th largest point source polluter in the nation).
WY, MT (can we call you WY and MT?) we've known each other a long time. Hell Montana, you were in the same statehood class with Washington (1889, what a year). Real friends can tell each other the truth and frankly right now you both are acting a little childish. If you didn’t want to build a Nike store in Billings or a Starbucks in Cheyenne hey we get it, fly kicks and lattes aren't for everyone. We wouldn’t try and sue you over it. We know you really want to keep digging the world’s largest pollutant out of the ground but we just aren’t going to be apart of it anymore. We really do want to make this work, and we’re happy to talk about getting you off coal too, but right now you’ve got to cut all of this out and let us make our own energy decisions.
Come on guys, we’ll even come to one those rodeos you keep inviting us to.
*update October 15th, 2015
Nick Abraham - editor and lead contributor of Oil Check Northwest