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(BBC-US)   "Will a Biden win doom this small town?" No, economic reality has pretty much already done that. Biden's just not going to insist we poison the planet to prop it up   (bbc.com) divider line
    More: Obvious, Coal, Fossil fuel, United States presidential election, 2008, Montana, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Cheyenne, Barack Obama, kind of coal mining community  
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2443 clicks; posted to Politics » on 25 Nov 2020 at 11:55 AM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-11-25 9:11:27 AM  
"More megawatts of coal power were retired during the Trump administration than the last four years of the Obama presidency"

I wonder if the asshole who wrote the article pointed that out to all the assholes who seem to think DEMOCRATS are what's going to end their coal cash cow. Not their own short sightedness in making their local 80% reliant on what anyone not completely stupid can realize is an environmental dead end.
 
2020-11-25 10:11:54 AM  
Colstrip's fate was sealed when MT Power was deregulated in '97
 
2020-11-25 10:17:17 AM  
Colstrip Mayor John Williams -

"Everything in our community is energy related. And if Biden gets in there, I see there's a lot of challenges," he said. "I feel the threat is greater on the federal level." ...........

"I feel that those large, multibillion dollar companies that have made millions and millions of dollars as a result of the efforts of the people that live and work in Colstrip place little value on what their futures are," he said. "They understand the debt that they owe to this community. They understand it, whether they'll recognise it with actions, I doubt."



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/Dipshiat
 
2020-11-25 10:38:22 AM  
Author: MY COLUMN

Me, 3,300 words later:  It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.  Who knew?

/Roll film
 
2020-11-25 10:43:35 AM  
The NPRC released a study showing that if coal companies do a thorough clean-up of the 6.7 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash currently sitting in ponds on the plant property, the project could yield 218 jobs.


they'll declare bankruptcy long before 1 yard of waste is remediated
 
2020-11-25 10:45:59 AM  

Dead for Tax Reasons: The NPRC released a study showing that if coal companies do a thorough clean-up of the 6.7 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash currently sitting in ponds on the plant property, the project could yield 218 jobs.


they'll declare bankruptcy long before 1 yard of waste is remediated


Well first they will move all the assets somewhere nice and safe and out of reach of the bankruptcy proceedings.
 
2020-11-25 10:55:22 AM  
How did I know it would be about coal?

Eat sh*t, Bob.
 
2020-11-25 11:19:20 AM  

UberDave: Colstrip Mayor John Williams -

"Everything in our community is energy related. And if Biden gets in there, I see there's a lot of challenges," he said. "I feel the threat is greater on the federal level." ...........

"I feel that those large, multibillion dollar companies that have made millions and millions of dollars as a result of the efforts of the people that live and work in Colstrip place little value on what their futures are," he said. "They understand the debt that they owe to this community. They understand it, whether they'll recognise it with actions, I doubt."


[Fark user image image 400x224]

/Dipshiat


Bulldoze the plant, bulldoze the town, and put the Trump voters into cult deprogramming re-education camps.
 
2020-11-25 11:38:27 AM  
" But salvation for coal never arrived. More megawatts of coal power were retired during the Trump administration than the last four years of the Obama presidency, and in 2019, the US mined only 706m tonnes of coal, the lowest level since the 1970s. That same year, two of the companies who own a share of the energy output from Colstrip announced that they were shuttering their portion of the plant, known as Units 1 and 2. "
 
2020-11-25 11:45:48 AM  
Who cares? What I want to know is whether Biden's hostility to the coal industry will finally spark the resurgence of horse-drawn carriages so my buggy whip business can finally come roaring back!
 
2020-11-25 11:56:55 AM  
Good.
 
2020-11-25 11:57:15 AM  
They sure sound Brassed Off.
 
2020-11-25 12:00:42 PM  
It's almost as though Obama's program to retrain coal workers into green energy jobs that was shuttered by Trump was a good idea, but that can't be!
 
2020-11-25 12:01:02 PM  
Bravo for that headline, subby.
 
2020-11-25 12:01:33 PM  
fark you Colstrip, I grew up in a smaller town in MT 2.5 hours away from you, so I know how worthless you are.

Just go away like the rest of the backwoods hicks in nowhere, MT.
 
2020-11-25 12:02:19 PM  
Fark coal, it's a threat to continuity.
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Those mines are insecure.
 
2020-11-25 12:02:39 PM  
I hear there may be a lot of money in typewriters.  Someone in town really ought to think about starting a factory. These things make pen and paper obsolete.  A shiatload of jobs can be created.  But no.  They cling to their coal.
 
2020-11-25 12:05:13 PM  
There are more jobs in Solar than in Coal right now, and the gap between the two is growing fast.  Anybody who laments coal jobs lives in a cave in 1930.
 
2020-11-25 12:05:53 PM  
"But salvation for coal never arrived."

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2020-11-25 12:05:55 PM  
Wait, we're caring about small towns now? Someone should tell all the small towns here in the midwest that are literally falling apart. You drive through them and other than maybe a Sonic or the new Baptist church building, everything else is 40+ years old and decrepit.
 
2020-11-25 12:06:42 PM  
Hey Darryl! Coal mining and truck driving are not exactly jobs of the future, so add Carrara subway tile to my farking shopping list.
 
2020-11-25 12:06:58 PM  

Visual Howlaround Title Sequence: UberDave: Colstrip Mayor John Williams -

"Everything in our community is energy related. And if Biden gets in there, I see there's a lot of challenges," he said. "I feel the threat is greater on the federal level." ...........

"I feel that those large, multibillion dollar companies that have made millions and millions of dollars as a result of the efforts of the people that live and work in Colstrip place little value on what their futures are," he said. "They understand the debt that they owe to this community. They understand it, whether they'll recognise it with actions, I doubt."


[Fark user image image 400x224]

/Dipshiat

Bulldoze the plant, bulldoze the town, and put the Trump voters into cult deprogramming re-education camps.


Wait, Jade Helm will finally be real? Oh thank god.
 
2020-11-25 12:08:12 PM  
You know, thinking in terms of personal finance...

We're all told that we should start socking away savings as soon as we start working, building that nest egg, accumulating compounding wealth to fund our retirement and maybe hand some down to our children. That's easy enough if you're in a well-paid job, not so much if you're living hand to mouth.

town like this is similar in some ways. They were lucky enough to get a "well-paid" economy, courtesy of a natural resource that was plentiful, but not eternal.

It seems like it should be possible to set aside some of that "generated wealth" as an endowment for the town and its facilities. The companies strip out less of the wealth as profit (but still earn enough to make the business worthwhile), and when the industry winds down, the town's schools and parks continue to be funded out of the endowment.

Of course, that's probably socialism, so please don't think I'm seriously suggesting that it makes sense...
 
2020-11-25 12:10:31 PM  
When will a candidate stand at a podium and not pretend coal mining is something bigger than what it actually is?
Why the f*ck I gotta hear about all these guys who won't switch jobs to feed a family?  What's American about that?

Is poorly educated unskilled republican voter entitlement a thing?
 
2020-11-25 12:10:55 PM  
What if we used coal for other stuff. Like we could glue googly eyes on it and make it the hot new toy this xmas

i.pinimg.comView Full Size


We could also give a government grant to Martha Stewart to come up with coal centerpieces for your table and other cool coal crafts.
 
2020-11-25 12:12:33 PM  

UberDave: Colstrip Mayor John Williams -

"Everything in our community is energy related. And if Biden gets in there, I see there's a lot of challenges," he said. "I feel the threat is greater on the federal level." ...........

"I feel that those large, multibillion dollar companies that have made millions and millions of dollars as a result of the efforts of the people that live and work in Colstrip place little value on what their futures are," he said. "They understand the debt that they owe to this community. They understand it, whether they'll recognise it with actions, I doubt."


[Fark user image image 400x224]

/Dipshiat


Seriously. "Wow, these government-chartered authoritarian fiefdoms don't give a fark about their serfs unless we force them to! Who could have known that? Who could have known that business, prosperity, freedom, and justice aren't all synonyms?"

What happened to coal workers understanding this so well they were willing to literally take up arms to make companies give them what was theirs? When did coal country get filled up with people who don't know how to get paid by their capitalist masters aside from whining at politicians to treat their capitalist masters better?
 
2020-11-25 12:13:21 PM  

Purple_Urkle: Fark coal, it's a threat to continuity.
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Those mines are insecure.


FWIW, the Centralia scenario seems unlikely to play out in Colstrip, since it's described as an "open-pit strip mine".

That said, that is a lot more environmentally damaging than tunneling.
 
2020-11-25 12:13:36 PM  

UberDave: "I feel that those large, multibillion dollar companies that have made millions and millions of dollars as a result of the efforts of the people that live and work in Colstrip place little value on what their futures are," he said. "They understand the debt that they owe to this community.


Debt? You bought your paychecks with your lives. If anyone owes anything, it's you for not giving your full pound of flesh to your employer and working for less so that they can remain competitive. You also owe your children for sacrificing their future.

"They understand it, whether they'll recognise it with actions, I doubt."

How insightful
 
2020-11-25 12:13:54 PM  
I know it's been lost in the noise on account of the bowel-shaking, ball-gelatinizing volume of crazy-waves in the last month, but I did get a very sensible chuckle out of the exchange in the second debate where Biden admitted that yes, the US should actually think about retiring fossil fuel usage at some point. Followed shortly instantly, of course, with Trump crowing like he'd just manipulated Biden into admitting that he wants to ban smiling, punch your grandma in the kidneys, and give an involuntary mastectomy to the Statue of Liberty.

And it wasn't even a particularly strong position on Biden's part, just a very realistic admission that "hey guys, we can't keep doing this forever," with no timetables.
 
2020-11-25 12:14:12 PM  
And odds that they tell Biden and Harris to go f*ck themselves the moment a restraining or Green New Deal Project work program is offered?
 
2020-11-25 12:14:32 PM  
What the fark is everyone's fascination with coal? It's old tech, dirty as all hell, and better/cheaper options are on the table.

Coal mining has become some sort of badge of honor in this country, which is to *literally and metaphorically* dig to the bottom.
 
2020-11-25 12:14:48 PM  
They were giddy at having an orange asshole in the White House who would give the middle finger to the libs. They can enjoy an extra serving of thoughts and prayers this Thanksgiving as that's all they deserve.
 
2020-11-25 12:15:18 PM  
Nobody could be reached for comment in Gagnon, Quebec.
 
2020-11-25 12:15:24 PM  

Aquapope: There are more jobs in Solar than in Coal right now, and the gap between the two is growing fast.  Anybody who laments coal jobs lives in a cave in 1930.


But don't you realize what a blight on the landscape solar farms are?

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Can you imagine those beautiful open strip mines forever buried under rows of solar panels? The horror...
 
2020-11-25 12:16:57 PM  

Conthan: Wait, we're caring about small towns now? Someone should tell all the small towns here in the midwest that are literally falling apart. You drive through them and other than maybe a Sonic or the new Baptist church building, everything else is 40+ years old and decrepit.


It's really sad because all the nicest houses are in small, crumbling towns or in the Bad Parts of the city. Lots of them are beautiful, or would be with not-even-that-much money put into them, with fine details that are practically unobtainable in a modern house (unless you salvage them from an older one)

Remote work would partially fix this, except the schools in those towns are god-awful so no-one with kids & the money to fix up an amazing old house wants to move there, even if the houses are free and they're OK living a 45 minute drive from the grocery store in the next town over.
 
2020-11-25 12:17:06 PM  
FTFA: "There's no transparency with these companies," said Hunter. "They're just like, 'Oh, we're done.' And it just leaves everybody hanging, nobody gets a chance to try and plan for anything.

That's capitalism for you.

You got exploited, you didn't care because you got enough of a slice to make it worth it.
 
2020-11-25 12:17:44 PM  

Dead for Tax Reasons: The NPRC released a study showing that if coal companies do a thorough clean-up of the 6.7 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash currently sitting in ponds on the plant property, the project could yield 218 jobs.


they'll declare bankruptcy long before 1 yard of waste is remediated


They could do like Duke Energy did in NC and try to have the customers pay for it.
 
2020-11-25 12:19:56 PM  

BeansNfranks: What the fark is everyone's fascination with coal? It's old tech, dirty as all hell, and better/cheaper options are on the table.

Coal mining has become some sort of badge of honor in this country, which is to *literally and metaphorically* dig to the bottom.


Movies and books somewhat romanticizes their parents/grandparents who hitched up their wagons and moved to work in a job that will most likely kill them in order to better their family's life. And then pretend that the mine owners didn't hire the Pinkerton's to slaughter their workers when they decided to strike because they wanted another nickel in pay and maybe a few more trusses to keep the mine from caving in.
 
2020-11-25 12:20:27 PM  

BeansNfranks: What the fark is everyone's fascination with coal? It's old tech, dirty as all hell, and better/cheaper options are on the table.

Coal mining has become some sort of badge of honor in this country, which is to *literally and metaphorically* dig to the bottom.


Hey, you try to take down the economic engine that's brought a region wealth for decades or centuries, and you're going to have a fight on your hands.

Just ask General Grant.
 
2020-11-25 12:21:13 PM  
jfarkinB:

One of the biggest blunders in the long-term management of this country was not taking a small cut of all non-renewable resource extraction over the last couple centuries, to put in a fund like Norway has.
 
2020-11-25 12:23:21 PM  
Maybe you shouldn't be operating a horse and buggy drive up repair shop in 2020.
 
2020-11-25 12:24:25 PM  
If they wanted to be welfare queens, they should have gone into farming as that is the profession with the good government welfare.

The government isn't supposed to be picking winners and losers. A least that is what Republicans used to say.
 
2020-11-25 12:25:01 PM  

Conthan: Wait, we're caring about small towns now? Someone should tell all the small towns here in the midwest that are literally falling apart. You drive through them and other than maybe a Sonic or the new Baptist church building, everything else is 40+ years old and decrepit.


In the country my mother grew op in in MO, some small towns are gone.  Like they do not exist anymore, just the name remains.   There might be a farm or a couple of houses, or just nothing.   It was (is) farming country.  I was checking out something and noticed that many plots of land are for sale, hundreds of acres a pop.. Through real estate agents that specialize in "hunting preserves"..
 
2020-11-25 12:25:26 PM  
You know what? fark em.

You want help, start voting for it. Plenty of candidates out there with real plans and ideas to help the working class. Until then, rot.
 
2020-11-25 12:26:23 PM  

fallingcow: UberDave: Colstrip Mayor John Williams -

"Everything in our community is energy related. And if Biden gets in there, I see there's a lot of challenges," he said. "I feel the threat is greater on the federal level." ...........

"I feel that those large, multibillion dollar companies that have made millions and millions of dollars as a result of the efforts of the people that live and work in Colstrip place little value on what their futures are," he said. "They understand the debt that they owe to this community. They understand it, whether they'll recognise it with actions, I doubt."


[Fark user image image 400x224]

/Dipshiat

Seriously. "Wow, these government-chartered authoritarian fiefdoms don't give a fark about their serfs unless we force them to! Who could have known that? Who could have known that business, prosperity, freedom, and justice aren't all synonyms?"

What happened to coal workers understanding this so well they were willing to literally take up arms to make companies give them what was theirs? When did coal country get filled up with people who don't know how to get paid by their capitalist masters aside from whining at politicians to treat their capitalist masters better?


Good point.

On a side note, I often pass by the Ludlow Massacre site in CO.
 
2020-11-25 12:26:48 PM  

Dead for Tax Reasons: The NPRC released a study showing that if coal companies do a thorough clean-up of the 6.7 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash currently sitting in ponds on the plant property, the project could yield 218 jobs.


they'll declare bankruptcy long before 1 yard of waste is remediated


Don't forget that even if they are forced to do it because disaster strikes, they'll contract to someone who subcontracts who subcontracts, to keep as far away from the legal liability as possible.  So when the sub-sub-sub-subcontractor inevitably lies to and fails to provide proper PPE to clean it up and the workers hired to do so start getting cancer or other related ailments and dying nobody is going to be around to sue.  The majority of the subcontracting companies will cease to exist the moment the job is done and there will be nobody to hold civilly or legally liable despite the people being in charge being the exact same people who worked for original company.
 
2020-11-25 12:26:52 PM  
They always talk about their deep ancestrial roots up in coal country, but the simple truth of the matter is that all throughout the history of coal, areas would be mined out, and everyone would move to a new town, and most of their ancestors migrated to the region only a few generations back, as other families constantly moved out.

Sure your grandad and his daddy cut coal from the mountain, but before that, your grand daddy's grand daddy was a plumber in New York or a butcher in Chicago.
 
2020-11-25 12:27:56 PM  
So, I'm sure this is going to sound harsh, but hasn't this scenario been coming at these people like a Mack truck for years?  The article itself says that the workers and the town knew that Units 1 and 2 were going to be shut down in 2022.  This is only two years early.  Why didn't the people who were going to be laid off start looking to sell and move well beforehand?  Why didn't the town start remediation training for the workers?  Why is the economic board looking at pipe dreams like making this place into a retirement community?  Really?  A retirement community?  In friggin only 79 days a year without frost Montana?

Give me a break.  This "tragedy" could have been softened if there had been an ounce of forethought here.  They should have started this transition 10+ years ago.
 
2020-11-25 12:28:04 PM  

Nana's Vibrator: When will a candidate stand at a podium and not pretend coal mining is something bigger than what it actually is?


2016. You may have heard of her, name of Clinton? Her telling the truth about coal mining has generally been said to have contributed to her loss.
 
2020-11-25 12:28:15 PM  
How did I know for a certainty that coal power was doomed 44 years ago, but coal towns didn't? They could have transitioned to new industries at least twice in that time. Video recording went from twenty pound cameras to VHS to DVD to Blu-Ray to the beginnings of 4K. Eighty percent of the country carries powerful computers/cameras on our pockets now; an entire industry and ecosystem that didn't exist 44 years ago.

A whole lot of regions and populations have completely transitioned to new industries in 44 years; why didn't they?

Hell, they could have all just become models.
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