Montana

IEEFA Research

IEEFA Update: How Will Westmoreland Coal’s Deepening Spiral End?

IEEFA Update: How Will Westmoreland Coal’s Deepening Spiral End?

Disappearing Market Capitalization and Unsustainable Debt

We’ve just published a research brief of interest to any person, community, business, or investor with ties to Westmoreland Coal Co. The brief—“Westmoreland Coal Is in Trouble”—lays out how the company, which produces coal for electricity generation, is hobbled by debt, is losing customers, has suffered a catastrophic drop in stock price, and appears to […]

February 16, 2018 Read More →
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 →
IEEFA Report: Almost $30 Billion in Revenues Lost to Taxpayers by ‘Great Giveaway’ of Federally Owned Coal in Powder River Basin

IEEFA Report: Almost $30 Billion in Revenues Lost to Taxpayers by ‘Great 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

Pushback in Wyoming Over Mine Cleanup Responsibilities

Associated Press: A citizen regulatory board has decided more review is needed on proposed rules on how coal companies secure the cost of cleaning up any of their mines that close in Wyoming. The Land Quality Advisory Board on Wednesday remanded the proposed self-bonding rules back to state regulators at the Department of Environmental Quality […]

March 30, 2018 Read More →

Another Step Toward Closure of Major Montana Coal Plant

Billings Gazette: A second Colstrip owner has agreed to be financially ready nine years from now to the shutter the coal-fired power plant’s newest units. Avista Corp., of Spokane, Washington, is putting December 2027 as the end of “remaining useful life” for Colstrip Units 3 and 4. That means the Washington utility will be financially […]

March 21, 2018 Read More →

Westmoreland Coal, Teetering Near Bankruptcy, Wants Montana to Let It Build a Bigger Mine

Bloomberg Environment: The nation’s eighth largest coal company is spiraling deeper into financial crisis, but that’s not stopping Westmoreland Coal Co. from chasing a new mine permit in Montana. Environmentalists now dread three outcomes in succession: first, that regulators approve the permit—which would let Westmoreland widen its existing Rosebud Mine near Colstrip, Mont., by another […]

March 2, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Update: How Will Westmoreland Coal’s Deepening Spiral End?

IEEFA Update: How Will Westmoreland Coal’s Deepening Spiral End?

Disappearing Market Capitalization and Unsustainable Debt

We’ve just published a research brief of interest to any person, community, business, or investor with ties to Westmoreland Coal Co. The brief—“Westmoreland Coal Is in Trouble”—lays out how the company, which produces coal for electricity generation, is hobbled by debt, is losing customers, has suffered a catastrophic drop in stock price, and appears to […]

February 16, 2018 Read More →

In Colstrip, Montana, a Sense of the Inevitable

KTVH (Helena): The future of the nation’s coal industry was in the spotlight this week during the State of the Union speech, but here in Montana, things seemed much more dim. President Trump declared the war on energy and the war on clean coal over in his speech, but a new report by the Institute […]

February 2, 2018 Read More →

Department of Interior’s Misstatement on Montana Mine Expansion Causes Short-Lived ‘Market Sensation’

Montana Public Radio: We’re getting perspective now on last week’s news that the U.S. Interior Department said it had approved a major coal mine expansion in Montana. It caused the stock of the mining company involved to temporarily spike. Six days later, Interior rescinded its statement, saying no expansion was approved, and the original approval […]

January 4, 2018 Read More →

Operator of One of Montana’s Newest Coal-Fired Plants Says It Is Losing Money and Is for Sale

Billings Gazette: The owner of a coal-fired power plant in Hardin has lost money from the site since 2014 and plans to leave town. Gary Arneson, vice president of operations for Heorot Power, said in a Nov. 15 letter to the Montana Public Service Commission that if the company can’t find a buyer for the […]

November 20, 2017 Read More →

State Denies Permit on Last of Proposed West Coast Coal-Export Terminals

Seattle Times: The Washington State Department of Ecology has denied a key permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, a decision that if it withstands appeal would kill the last remaining proposal in the state to export Western coal to Asia. The department denied the permit citing nine problem areas, including rail safety, air […]

September 27, 2017 Read More →

Montana Coal Industry, With Nowhere to Go but Up, Reports a Production Increase Over Last year

Billings Gazette: “Certainly what we’ve seen is an increase in our sales to our Asia customers primarily in South Korea and Japan,” said Rick Curtsinger, Cloud Peak Energy spokesman. “Last year by the end of the second quarter, we had shipped 200,000 tons of coal to our Asia customers. This year as of June 30, […]

September 5, 2017 Read More →

In Blocking Montana Mine Enlargement, Judge Sees Company as ‘Inflating the Benefits of the Action While Minimizing Its Impacts’

Associated Press: A federal judge has blocked a proposed 176-million ton (159 million-metric ton) expansion of a central Montana coal mine in a ruling that criticized U.S. officials for downplaying the climate change impacts of the project and inflating its economic benefits. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy issued an order Monday barring Signal Peak Energy […]

August 22, 2017 Read More →