Response To Sierra Club

On Tuesday April 24th, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign held an event about Colstrip, Montana. According to their Facebook page, the event description said they would be “discussing the plant's current status and prospects for transition of the Colstrip workers and the community of Colstrip. We will also explore opportunities for replacing its power with renewable energy and energy efficiency. All are welcome to attend this informative event.” One would think that an event like this would be held in Colstrip seeing as the city and the workers there were the topic of discussion, but to the contrary, the event was held in Missoula at the U of M campus. No community leaders from Colstrip were even invited. To top it all off, when citizens from Colstrip sent messages to the page to get more information on the event, their messages were completely ignored. It’s obvious that this event was not meant to include people from Colstrip at all, in fact, it is apparent that it was designed to exclude them altogether. This event was simply the Sierra Club's latest attempt at spreading misinformation and one-sided propaganda. Make no mistake about it: The citizens of Colstrip and the people of Montana will not simply roll over and resign themselves to being the latest victims of the Sierra Club's short-sighted agenda. They will continue to speak out against The Beyond Coal Campaign’s assault on the Montana economy and the good paying, high wage jobs that Montana's coal industry provides.

These big money groups like the Sierra Club, funded by the likes of Bloomberg, are overtly attempting to kill an industry. Except for it isn’t just one: Coal is not the only industry in their crosshairs. From coal, oil, and natural gas, to the sugar industry of Hawaii, no resource industry is safe from this insidious organization’s well-funded onslaught of propaganda. The people behind the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign are completely devoid of any concern for local jobs, the electrical utility rates we pay, the stability of our electricity supply, and most important of all: They are devoid of any concern for the poorest and most vulnerable Montana citizens that simply cannot afford to start paying higher electricity bills. With state revenues falling over $200 million short of projections, the people of Montana should question whether the Sierra Club’s goal of forcing premature closure of mines and power plants is forward thinking. Unlike the coal industry, the wind and solar industries require massive federal and state subsidies to be economically competitive.

There is no other tax structure currently in place in the state of Montana that can replace the tax dollars that coal provides. While the Sierra Club plots to destroy what is left of one of Montana’s largest cash cows, Montanans like those that live in Colstrip will continue to fight tooth and nail to preserve our ability to utilize a resource that is more abundant in Montana than any other state in the country. We stand for common sense solutions that will provide economic benefits to Montana today and protect our way of life for future generations.

Lori Shaw is the Co-founder and Director of the Colstrip United Movement which is a volunteer based grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about the importance of coal and coal energy. Lori also serves on the Colstrip City Council.

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