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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Coal trains: They're for the Indians

An interesting dynamic, with clear implications for Portlandia, is shaping up over near the Custer Battlefield.

Comments (23)

The tribal leaders are giving away the tribe's legacy for a few million bucks. It would be better to have non-profits like the Sierra Club, etc. make substitute royalty payments to the tribes than to allow the coal to go to the filthy power plants in Asia. The madness of this entire scheme is astonishing to say the least. I also wonder if the tribal leaders are getting some payola from the mining company because the tribe as a whole isn't getting much out of this proposal in exchange for having its land raped into perpetuity.

I still ask, why is the US of A, the second biggest producer of coal, is send it's coal to the biggest producer of coal, China? Coal Exports to China increased %107.7 between 2011 and 2012.

phil, it's not the U.S. It's the coal corporations. They have no nationality, nor allegiance -- except to whatever efficiently and most economically enables and provides them to maximize profit-taking & political power and minimizes or avoids paying taxes or helping the working class and the poor and disabled.

Usual Kevin, the Sierra Club doesn't have the dough nor the capacity to buy off the Indians, and that club's cult isn't totally altruistic, anyway. But, coal exports are going to continue to increase because that's where the buyers are, and the coal corporations and fossil fuel mongers are not going to let the carbon fuel era pass without extracting as much carbon-based fuel as they can from the earth and converting it into cash.

Meanwhile, here's something nearby in a few weeks that folks might want to check out:

Earth: Too Big To Fail

Phil, what else can the Chinese do with our money? They may well already own your mortgage.

Fortunately I have no mortgage, but my guess is China will buy up all the available coal then sell it back to the old US of A at a big profit

"Cloud Peak is providing $75,000 annually in scholarship funds to Crow college students.."

Wow, what a generous deal. NOT!

"...but my guess is China will buy up all the available coal then sell it back to the old US of A at a big profit"

Yes, something like that HAS to happen.

The rubes cannot deal with the fact that the US has lots of energy natural resources from a variety of sources, so they need to figure out a way to screw it up. Energy prices need to "skyrocket", resources need to languish, and economic sectors need to be punished.

In September 2010 Peabody Energy announced that "Coal's best days are ahead." Peabody stated that exports of coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming will be central to its expansion goals. The Oregonian in September 2010 reported that Northwest ports, and in particular ports in Portland, Oregon, may be used in the future to export coal to Asia. The Port of Portland said it doesn't have the space for coal exports in the short-term, but its consultants cited coal as a potential long-term market if it adds terminals on West Hayden Island.

In November 2010 Powder River Basin coal producer Cloud Peak Energy CEO Colin Marshall stated that a coal port on the West Coast was "absolutely more than a pipedream."

Powder River Basin coal mining has been going on more than 30 years, despite concerns of both environmentalists and ranchers. The open pit mines are enormous. So what's the big deal/sudden concern? Our domestic coal-fired generating plants have used it. Is the issue mostly about exporting it, or payments to the nearby Crow tribe, or environmental hazard? We've had decades to sort this out in a policy sense that takes into account these interests. Nothing new here, really.

Coal rail road shipments have occurred in volume already for several decades. The shipments went to the Centralia (Washington) coal power generating plant and the Boardman (Oregon) coal power generating plant. Coal is also used in specialty steel operations here in relative small amounts. As Boardman is shut in the year 2020, this coal instead has a ready market in other parts of the globe. Other developing countries trying to achieve material comforts here require or could use this inexpensive coal supply. We could charge an export tax and use its revenue to clean air through other methods. We'd still have competitive coal export prices, very high paying jobs at coal mines and railroads, and help other developing countries prosper. We should remain flexible rather than let knee jerk populism deny economic improvement (while offsetting environmental externalities).
P.s You can actually lower overall emissions of Carbon dioxide (if this means that much to you) by cycling inexpensive coal power through an all electric vehicle (versus emissions from a conventional gasoline fueled automobile).

"The Coal Horse." Neigh.

"He's not heavy....he's my brother."

Buncha dang raaaaacists don't think the Indians are smart enough to know what they are doing! Suckered by the white-eyes again! That's their story, and they're sticking to it.

Bill McDonald:

"Cloud Peak is providing $75,000 annually in scholarship funds to Crow college students.."

Wow, what a generous deal. NOT!


Doesn't sound like a lot, but on the other hand there's nothing to stop the Crow Tribe from handing out additional scholarship money from the funds generated from the deal. They can certainly do better than that now long-abandoned carpet factory I always see off the highway when I drive the 17 miles from Hardin to the Little Big Horn Battlefield.


It's the coal corporations. They have no nationality


Like a "Citizen of the World!". Sounds like that's in sync with (so-called) progressive thought.


nor allegiance


That, too. Patriotism is ridiculed, apparently, except that corporations must be forced to be patriotic.

But anyway, fossil fuels need little if any coercive salesmanship because they have so much energy stored in them. The "working class and the poor and disabled" you champion are in no hurry to pedal a stationary bike like old Edward G. Robinson just to get one light bulb to stay on, nor are they helped by politicians using never-mind-the-facts ideology to make energy cost more and take more out of their monthly income.

The best way to get rid of coal use, and oil (or drastically reduce their use) is nuclear using the latest technologies such as pebble bed reactors, and grasses that can be turned into ethanol and other alcohol-like fuels. Butanol is probably the best one since in energy-per-gallon it's almost equal to gasoline. But to have a more practical and efficient method of converting these cellulose plants (as opposed to starchy and sugar crops) into fuel, bioengineered microorganisms can be developed to make it easier to convert these grasses into fuel.

If you don't want to have any bioengineering going on, well, then get on you stationary bike and get that light bulb going again. But don't stop anyone else from working on thus real progress (and besides, you will benefit from their work just the same, whether you'll like it or not.)

Bob Tiernan

"Cloud Peak is providing $75,000 annually in scholarship funds to Crow college students.."
Wow, what a generous deal. NOT!"

Annual tuition and fees at Little Bighorn Community College (which as a practical matter is where the students would attend) is $2,760. There are between 300 and 400 students. So actually $75,000 would go a pretty long way, but, yes, not nearly as far as the coal mining and related jobs that will accrue to tribe members.

If you are looking for someone to demonize in this deal nevertheless, I’d look in the direction of BNSF which, at current Powder Basin pricing, will get more for transporting the coal than the mining company will get for the coal itself. Take some potshots at Barack’s buddy Warren Buffett; have some real fun.

Will it ever be permissible to talk about these "tribes" and "tribal lands?" Or is this a penance we all, on both sides, will forevermore pay?

Annual tuition and fees at Little Bighorn Community College (which as a practical matter is where the students would attend) is $2,760.

You don't know where the students are going to attend college anymore than I do. I think it's a remarkably low number along with all the other numbers here.

Sally, I'm curious as to what you mean about the tribes doing penance?

You got it backwards, sheila, about Sally's rhetorical question.

"It is a good day to blog." ~ Sitting Full

At least Colin did not go all Calvin Coolidge on us...or wear a cowboy hat.

You don't know where the students are going to attend college anymore than I do. I think it's a remarkably low number along with all the other numbers here.

Actually, I've spent a great deal of time and effort working with and advocating on behalf of disadvantaged minority students to help them complete their high school education and move on to some semblance of a post-secondary education and have had decades of exposure to tribal cultures. These are the kids the liberal elite talks about but leaves behind at most every twist and turn. I may not know for a fact what happens to every one of them but I know what the overwhelming central tendencies are.


Take some potshots at Barack’s buddy Warren Buffett; have some real fun.


Nah, they won't. Warren is a visionary, you see. So he gets a pass the same way slimy Fat Cat Homer Williams gets a pass while someone like Mark Hemstreet doesn't -- because Mark H. won't do something like offer to build a convention hotel or other "smart growth" structure and get taxpayer million$ to do it, and then laugh all the way to the bank.

Bob Tiernan


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