Land Board Needs to consider the Cost of Carbon Pollution
This coming Tuesday, March 18, the Montana Land Board will consider whether to approve the expansion of the Signal Peak coal mine onto State Lands north of Billings. Approval of the operation would allow Signal Peak to expand onto state school trust lands, as part of its massive 7,160 acre proposed expansion. The state section contains approximately 12 million tons of state coal. Once burned that coal will result in approximately 24 million tons of carbon pollution. We need you to contact the Montana Land Board today. Request that they deny this proposal until they consider the cost of the carbon pollution for Montana.
Shockingly, the Land Board did not require an analysis of the climate change impacts associated with adding an additional 24 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere. The Montana Land Board has an absolute obligation to both present and future generations to consider the full costs associated with this proposal.
Using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent formula to assess the social cost of carbon, the 24 million tons of carbon would result in additional costs to society ranging from $288 million to $1.5 billion. In other words, when the cost of the carbon pollution is accounted for, it dwarfs the short-term economic benefit of the proposed expansion onto state lands.
Montana is already in the midst of a dramatically changing climate. We are experiencing shorter and more intense winters, an increase in the prevalence of intense and destructive wildfires, reduced snowpack, impacts to agriculture, diminished flows in our rivers and streams, and the many resulting harms to our economy and way of life. Tell the Land Board these costs should be considered.