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

New EPA plan not likely to help Montana’s Colstrip coal plant

Montana Standard: President Donald Trump’s plan to replace Obama-era air pollution rules with coal-friendly policies got a mixed reception by Montana officials uncertain what the changes would mean for the Colstrip Power Plant. Republicans praised Trump’s plans to scrap former President Barrack Obama’s Clean Power Plan as good news for coal power. Though never carried […]

August 23, 2018 Read More →

Legal setback for coal industry on federal leases in Montana and Wyoming

Associated Press: A federal judge in Montana has given the Trump administration until late 2019 to analyze reductions to mining in the nation’s most productive coal fields as a way to fight climate change. The order from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris, issued Tuesday, applies to the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. The […]

August 3, 2018 Read More →

Emissions force Talen to take Colstrip coal units offline

Billings Gazette: Colstrip Power Plant, one of the largest electricity generators in the northwestern United States, has been shut down for at least a month because of air pollution problems, The Billings Gazette has learned. Talen Energy, which operates the plant, is trying to dispel rumors that newer portions of the four-generator power plant have […]

July 25, 2018 Read More →

New Washington State Rules Are Another Blow to Colstrip Coal Plant

The Seattle Times: State regulators this week stepped up their activism on the climate front by telling three utilities to reconsider the carbon-emission costs of producing electricity from coal and other fossil fuels. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission directives were sent to Puget Sound Energy, Avista Corp and Pacific Power, which collectively serve more […]

May 10, 2018 Read More →

Court Forces BLM to Delay Oil And Gas Lease Sales Over Climate Change Concerns

Associated Press: U.S. officials delayed lease sales on federal oil and gas reserves beneath more than 160 square miles of public and private lands in eastern Montana in response to a recent court ruling on climate change, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman said Wednesday. The 223 lease parcels had been slated for sale […]

April 26, 2018 Read More →

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 →