– Montana has one-third of all U.S. coal reserves, valued at $1.5 trillion. Just the coal that is economically recoverable using today’s technology will serve domestic needs for 250 years.
– Despite having such huge coal reserves, Montana accounts for just 5 percent of U.S. coal production - meaning it would take 1,600 years, at the current rate, to exhaust our supplies. (Wyoming, America’s largest coal producer, has one-third the reserves of Montana but produces 10 times as much coal.)
– Coal is a major economic engine for Montana - and can be an even more significant driver of prosperity and job creation if we leverage our enormous coal reserves.
– In one year, the Montana coal mines generated over $123 million in revenues to the state (excludes federal taxes paid)
– In 2011, the Montana coal mining industry directly employed 1,200 people with an annual payroll of $87.5 million. Indirect employment was 4,450, with a $190 million annual payroll.
– Montana’s coal industry has paid over $1 billion in royalties to date.
– Exporting coal to emerging markets improves the United States trade imbalance. We need to export more goods than we bring in to continue to grow our economy. It’s better for us to sell the Chinese our coal rather than our bonds.
“Coal is not a new subject to Montanans. We rank No. 5 in the nation in coal production, and rely on coal for 4,790 jobs and a combined payroll of $273 million. Coal provides 63 percent of Montana’s electricity, powering the equivalent of 305,000 homes and 23,000 businesses. That puts Montana No. 16 in the nation in energy affordability, according to the Energy Information Administration.”
-Sen. Ed Walker - Havre Daily Record (6/12/12)