A Fresh Call in Montana for an End to Coal Subsidies

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Tom Howard for the Billings Gazette:The Obama Administration, widely criticized by western lawmakers for placing a temporary moratorium on new federal coal leases, has at least one ally in the controversy: former Montana Department of Revenue director Dan Bucks.The Obama Administration announced the halt on new coal leases last January, citing concerns about whether taxpayers are getting a fair return for federal coal.Roughly 40 percent of the coal produced in the United States comes from federal lands, most of it in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.Bucks said critics are overstating the moratorium’s threat to the coal industry. In general, coal producers that are mining federal coal have about a 20-year supply at the current rate of mining, he said.Bucks ran the Montana Department of Revenue during the administration of former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a pro-coal Democrat, from 2005 to 2013.Concluding that the federal coal leasing program is broken, Bucks said its problems date to the 1970s, when federal government policy ensured that coal would be the fuel of choice for electrical generation.An energy policy that relied heavily on coal-fired electrical power created the coal boom in the Powder River Basin. In the ensuing decades, the federal coal lease program provided “hidden subsidies” for the coal industry, Bucks said.In 2013 an Interior Department inspector general report found that taxpayers weren’t being adequately compensated in the federal coal leasing program. In 2014 the Government Accountability Office also identified problems with the federal coal leasing program, Bucks said“It’s hard for the public to understand, but the Interior Department didn’t have a choice but to respond,” Bucks said. “The way they are responding is appropriate. In a technical public administration sense, they are doing the right things because you cannot ignore those reports.”Bucks also took issue with predictions that the state would suffer dire economic consequences with the closure of power plants at Colstrip. The moratorium on federal coal leasing won’t put a halt to mining, he said.Bucks also said that Montana’s coal industry accounts for a little more than 1 percent of state’s revenues, much less than what what coal advocates have claimed.Bucks also disagreed with the notion that the closure of Colstrip would result in a mass exodus from Montana. The worst case would be slower economic growth for the state, he said.He suggested that Montana should map out a better energy future by placing a priority on assisting coal-dependent communities in case the coal industry dwindles. The state should also aggressively pursue renewable energy sources, he said.Full article: Former Montana Revenue Department director says coal leasing program needs changes A Fresh Call in Montana for an End to Coal Subsidieslast_img read more

Michael Carrick lauds Anhony Martial’s perfect Manchester United debut against Liverpool

first_imgScoring against arch-rivals Liverpool on his debut was the perfect way for Anthony Martial to introduce himself to his team mates and Manchester United’s supporters, midfielder Michael Carrick said.Martial became the world’s most expensive teenager when United signed him from Monaco for a reported 36 million pounds ($55.7 million) on transfer deadline day, and although he is well known in France, the size of his fee and relatively low profile due to his age prompted murmurs of surprise in England.Midfielder Carrick joined captain Wayne Rooney in admitting that he did not know much about the teenager when United signed him, but backed Martial to have a bright future at United based on his debut performance.”I have to be totally honest, I didn’t know an awful lot about him but I do now! To start like that, you can’t really ask for more,” Carrick was quoted as saying by the club’s website.Also read: Martial scores debut goal as Man United beat Liverpool 3-1   Martial put the gloss on United’s 3-1 win at the weekend after coming on as a second-half substitute when he danced past three defenders in the 86th minute and sidefooted the ball home.”It doesn’t get any better than that does it? Coming in and coming on, scoring against Liverpool like that,” the 34-year-old Carrick added.Also read: Martial a massive gamble for United, says Henry “He has done well to get in that position and I thought the finish was terrific, how he just slotted it home, he was so calm and composed. You can’t ask for a better start.advertisement”He has announced himself and everyone has seen it on the big stage. It’s a good start for him. I am sure his confidence will be sky high after that.”It’s a good way to settle him and if that has raised expectations then so be it, but that is part of the game.”last_img read more