FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2013
Chuck Denowh 239.5952
Coal resolution underscores coal production's importance to all Montanans
(Helena, Mont.)—The economic activity and tax revenue generated by Montana's coal industry has a positive impact on all communities in the state. Montana has a tremendous opportunity to increase production to meet the demand of both domestic consumers and the rapidly growing overseas market. The Montana House of Representatives today passed HJ 9, a resolution underscoring the importance of Montana's coal industry and the need for new export facilities. The resolution passed with a bipartisan vote, 72 to 28.
"We need to recognize just how important this industry is to our economy in all corners of the state, said Chuck Denowh, spokesperson for Count on Coal Montana. "Coal has provided billions in tax revenue that is distributed to every county for schools, infrastructure, and public safety. The industry is an economic engine that provides employment for thousands of Montanans. And to increase production further would have a transformative impact on our economy."
The coal industry contributes over 5,000 jobs to Montana's economy. Additionally, the industry pays over $125 million in taxes to state and local governments. With 60% of Montana's electricity provided by coal-fired generators, it is one of the most important energy sources in the state.
Proponents to the resolution included advocates for labor unions, education, local governments, and local economic development leaders, in addition to industry experts.
"We have the most coal in the country, but compared to other states we don't produce very much of it," said Denowh. "We have double the coal of Wyoming, yet they produce ten times as much. It's no wonder they derive millions more in tax revenue from coal than we do each year."
With American demand steady and global demand for coal growing at a rapid pace, Montana faces a great opportunity to increase production. But with existing ports at capacity, new and expanded export facilities are necessary for coal and other commodities to reach the markets where demand exists. The resolution under consideration by the committee emphasized the need for increased export capacity.