Senator Ankney Talks Coal At Carroll College Energy Discussion

On Thursday, September 14th a panel discussion on “Montana's Energy Future” was held in Helena at Carroll College. The event was self-described as “a lively panel debate on the energy needs of the state of Montana and the social and environmental consequences of our energy choices." It was organized by Alex Street, Ph. D. Assistant Professor of Political Science at Carroll College. Five people were asked to participate in the panel discussion: Senator Duane Ankney of District 21, Environmental Activist Alexis Bonogofsky, Nick Silverman of the Montana Climate Office, Brad Van Wert, a solar panel installer from Bozeman, and Brian Fadie of the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC.)

From left to right: Brad Van Wert, a solar panel installer from Bozeman, Environmental Activist Alexis Bonogofsky, Senator Duane Ankney of District 21, Nick Silverman of the Montana Climate Office, Brian Fadie of the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC), and Professor Alex Street

From left to right: Brad Van Wert, a solar panel installer from Bozeman, Environmental Activist Alexis Bonogofsky, Senator Duane Ankney of District 21, Nick Silverman of the Montana Climate Office, Brian Fadie of the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC), and Professor Alex Street.

The event room was packed. In attendance were dozens of Carroll students, members of the public, as well as both anti-coal and pro-coal activists. During the discussion Ankney brought up the hardships that are currently being experienced with Montana's low state budget. He argued that Montana should be exploring all sources of energy, but it will need coal revenue to help keep funding the programs that so many Montanans have become accustomed to. "It's all of the above folks, but you need to have that dispatch-able power and big infrastructure to tax. I know I'm a Republican, I'm a conservative, I shouldn't be talking about taxes, but we do need revenue. We need tax money to keep up the functions of the state." Ankney said. The Senator also brought up the fact that new technologies aimed at using coal more cleanly and efficiently are currently being explored all over the world and that new uses and applications for sequestered carbon dioxide are being considered as well. Senator Ankney was the only pro-coal person that was asked to be on the panel. A large group of coal supporters posed for a picture with him after the event was concluded.

The United States has more recoverable coal within it's borders than any other country, and the state with the largest recoverable coal reserves is Montana. Our state is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the future of coal energy.


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