This morning, I drove down the Otter Creek Valley in Montana to see where the proposed mine I’ve been researching would be located.
More than a billion tons of coal would come out of this new strip mine, be put on train cars on a new railroad spur, and be shipped on open train cars through the Pacific Northwest before being loaded on ships at a new terminal for export to Asia. A lot of expensive new infrastructure for a dying industry, especially considering that scientists agree that most of that coal needs to stay in the ground.
So what does this proposed mine site look like? It’s a valley, with Custer National Forest land on both sides. The valley is grass land mixed with rocky out-croppings. There are ranches, grazing cattle and flocks of birds. Creeks (not only Otter creek) meander out from the hills.
It is so quiet that your footfalls on the grass sound loud.
I’ve been talking to ranchers, Cheyenne people, Lummi people, and others along this proposed rail and shipping route. And if they have anything to say about it, this isn’t going to happen.