Daines Hosts Scoping Meeting in Billings

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today held a public meeting in Billings to ensure that the Department of Interior (DOI) hears the voices that will be most impacted by their review of the federal coal program. 

Today, DOI held a scoping meeting in Seattle, Washington. Washington State contains only 0.26 percent of the nation’s recoverable coal reserves and produces zero. Montana has the nation’s largest estimated recoverable coal reserves.

Over 150 Montanans attended Daines’ scoping meeting to make their voices heard.



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“Montanans rely on coal for their livelihoods, so the ability to produce it must not be wiped away,” Daines stated. “It’s great to see so many Montanans come out and make their voices heard and ensure that we keep good-paying coal jobs in our state.” 

The comments collected today will be submitted to the Bureau of Land Management and be incorporated in the scope of the programmatic review of the federal coal program. 

Montana is currently excluded from the scoping process as DOI announced public meetings during May and June in Casper, Wyo.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Salt Lake City; and Seattle. Montanans are encouraged to share their thoughts and bring written comments to the June 21 event in Billings. 

On May 17, 2016, Daines introduced legislation to protect Montana coal jobs from the Obama administration’s recent moratorium on new federal coal leases and ensure that states and tribes have a significant voice in any changes to federal coal, oil, gas royalties or leasing policy. Earlier this month, Daines requested a legislative hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on his legislation.