Montana

IEEFA Research

The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

Appoint a Price-Setting Commission; Ban Exports; Cancel Some Leases; Eliminate Self-Bonding; Mandate Set-Asides for Mine Clean-up and Miner Pensions; Require Twice-a-Year Audits; Assume Smaller Markets

It’s time for the U.S. to modernize how it manages its publicly owned coal reserves. That’s the essence of comments we’ve filed today with the Department of the Interior as it begins a review of its federal coal-leasing program in the Powder River Basin, a program that has been mismanaged for years at taxpayer expense […]

IEEFA Analysis: Financial Condition of Montana’s Colstrip 1 and 2 Worse Than Previously Known


IEEFA Analysis: Financial Condition of Montana’s Colstrip 1 and 2 Worse Than Previously Known


Costs to Ratepayers Stand to Increase if Puget Sound Keeps Two Coal-Fired Plants Alive

In testimony today to the state Utilities and Transportation Commission in Olympia, Wash., we are presenting fresh analyses that shows how two coal-fired electricity generators in Montana co-owned by Puget Sound Energy are worse investments  than previously known. Over the past several months, IEEFA has documented how Colstrip 1 and 2 have become an increasingly […]

As the BLM Begins Coal-Lease ‘Listening Sessions,’ a Few Hard Truths Must Be Heard

As the BLM Begins Coal-Lease ‘Listening Sessions,’ a Few Hard Truths Must Be Heard

Ban Coal Exports From the Powder River Basin, for Starters, and Impose a Moratorium on Taxpayer-Subsidized Leases

U.S. taxpayers own the largest remaining domestic coal reserves in the country, valuable resources that sit in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming and that are vital to the energy security of our country. The federal government, sad to say, has been an almost pathologically passive overseer of these resources (read more about […]

August 11, 2015 Read More →
Study Concludes That Colstrip 1 and 2 Are Financially Unviable; Cautions Against Further Expenditures

Study Concludes That Colstrip 1 and 2 Are Financially Unviable; Cautions Against Further Expenditures

In an Era of Low Natural-Gas Prices and Competition From Renewable Energy, Phasing Out Two Coal-Fired Units Is the Best Option for Owners

JUNE 23, 2015 (IEEFA) — An analysis of data on operational costs and energy markets by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis questions the financial viability of the two oldest units at the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana. Colstrip Units 1 and 2, which are owned equally by Talen Montana and Puget Sound […]

June 23, 2015 Read More →
Comments on Proposed Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform, ONRR-2012-0004-0024

Comments on Proposed Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform, ONRR-2012-0004-0024

COAL SOLD FOR EXPORT SHOULD NOT BE EXEMPT FROM FEDERAL ROYALTY PAYMENTS

Comments on Proposed Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform, ONRR-2012-0004-0024 By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

May 7, 2015 Read More →
Report – No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity

Report – No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity

No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity (pdf) By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, IEEFA  

November 19, 2014 Read More →
Report: 20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers

Report: 20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers

20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers (pdf) By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

November 11, 2014 Read More →
Memo- Response to the Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General Audit on Federal Coal Leasing Program

Memo- Response to the Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General Audit on Federal Coal Leasing Program

Policy memo: Response to the Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General Audit on Federal Coal Leasing Program June 28, 2013 (pdf)

July 1, 2013 Read More →
Report- Almost $30 billion in revenues lost to taxpayers by “giveaway” of federally owned coal in Powder River Basin

Report- Almost $30 billion in revenues lost to taxpayers by “giveaway” of federally owned coal in Powder River Basin

Almost $30 billion in revenues lost to taxpayers by “giveaway” of federally owned coal in Powder River Basin (pdf) With almost no accountability, BLM failure created boom in electric power industry use of artificially cheap coal from Montana and Wyoming; Next major coal sale set for Thursday   WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 25, 2012 – […]

June 25, 2012 Read More →

More News and Commentary

More Declines in Montana Coal Production

Billings Gazette via RTO Insider: Montana coal mines are entering a second straight year of historically low production, industry records show. Coal numbers through the first four months of 2017 show Montana mines producing a third less coal than they did just two years ago. Through April, Montana mines had produced 9.8 million tons of […]

June 14, 2017 Read More →

Coal ‘Death Slide’ Manifested Large in Montana

KGVO Billings: There has been a mighty effort to save Colstrip Units 1 and 2 and stave off the elimination of hundreds of jobs, and millions in tax revenue, however one energy economist says the effort is futile because coal is in a death spiral. David Schlissel is with the Institute For Energy Economics and […]

April 27, 2017 Read More →

On the Blogs: Trump Seeks Evisceration of Coal-Community Investment Initiatives

Center for American Progress: Trump campaigned on promises to revitalize the U.S. coal industry and bring back coal mining jobs. On March 28, he signed an executive order that began the process of rolling back key federal efforts, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s, or EPA’s, Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from the U.S. […]

April 24, 2017 Read More →

Montana Proceeds With Plan for Colstrip Bailout

SNL: A bill giving Talen Energy Corp. the chance to seek up to $10 million per year in loans for five years to pay for operations and maintenance of the Colstrip power plant in Montana is on its way to Gov. Steve Bullock. The state Senate on April 13 voted 31-19 in favor of House […]

April 17, 2017 Read More →

A Coal Plant Bailout in the Works in Montana

Associated Press: The Montana House has endorsed a bill that would allow the state Board of Investments to loan Talen Energy to $10 million a year to keep two units of the Colstrip power plant running for the next five years. The bill by House Speaker Austin Knudsen passed a 65-34 initial vote on Friday. […]

March 28, 2017 Read More →

U.S. Coal Companies Dodge Federal Royalty Reform

From the Washington Post: The Interior Department has informed coal, oil and gas companies this week they do not need to comply with a new federal accounting system that would have compelled them to pay millions of dollars in additional royalties. The Office of Natural Resources Revenue’s new method of calculating royalties for minerals extracted […]

February 28, 2017 Read More →

A New Spot Record for Wind Generation: 52.1% Grid Penetration Across Central U.S.

Scott DiSavino for Reuters: Wind briefly powered more than 50 percent of electric demand on Sunday, the 14-state Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said, for the first time on any North American power grid. SPP coordinates the flow of electricity on the high voltage power lines from Montana and North Dakota to New Mexico, Texas and […]

February 16, 2017 Read More →

Op-Ed: Taxpayers Gain if Federal Coal-Lease Reforms Stand

Meredith Fowlie for The Conversation: The federal coal program is supposed to manage vast federally owned coal reserves, which account for more than 40 percent of U.S. coal production, “for the benefit of current and future generations.” But the program has, for a long time, been criticized for selling taxpayers short. For this and other […]

January 23, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals

Production to Decline by as Much as 40 Million Tons; Prices Will Not  Benefit Shareholders or Stimulate New Investment; Anemic Exports; Few Gains From Regulatory Relief; Increasingly Dim Employment Prospects

Jan. 19, 2016 (IEEFA.org) – The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) today published its U.S. Coal Outlook 2017 in which it describes an industry like to decline further this year, though at a slower pace than in 2016. The report—“IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017:  Short-Term Gains Will Be Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses […]

January 19, 2017 Read More →

U.S. Mountain States Are Shifting from Coal to Gas and Renewables

Tom DiChristopher for CNBC: The U.S. Mountain States are moving away from coal, even as President-elect Donald Trump vows to revive the embattled industry. Western states — a stronghold for coal consumption — are increasingly using natural gas and renewable energy for their electricity. The switch puts pressure on miners in Wyoming, the country’s biggest […]

December 22, 2016 Read More →