During the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas last evening, presidential candidate and former New York mayor, Mike Bloomberg, promised to crush the coal industry around the county if he’s elected.
Bloomberg is largely considered the favored Democrat “establishment candidate” over and against socialist firebrand, Bernie Sanders, who is leading in the polls thanks to his populist appeal. With numerous officials with the Clinton Political Machine in his corner, Bloomberg is running second in odds to win the nomination in light of former Vice President Joe Biden’s colossal polling collapse over recent weeks.
When asked by moderator, Jon Ralston, about how he would stop the expansion of coal – which he has been railing against in public forums due to environmentalist concerns – he began by lauding his privately funded efforts to close coal-fired plants across the United States.
Bloomberg said, “Already we’ve closed 304 out of the 530 coal-fired power plants in the United States, and we’ve closed 80 out of the 200 or 300 that are in Europe, Bloomberg philanthropies working with the Sierra Club. That’s one of the things you do.”
The Democrat has proposed putting significant money into such closures. He’s proposed a $150 million, four-year “Beyond Coal” campaign, operated through the Sierra Club, and promises to close 289 plants. In June, Bloomberg promised another $500 million to complete that initiative.
In the meantime, coal is an important industry to Montana’s economy. With more than a quarter of the United State’s total coal reserves, an untold fortune in untapped resources, the industry currently produces millions of dollars for the state economy. In 2018, the state produced about 5% of the nation’s coal from six operating mines. Most of that production comes from five large surface mines in the Powder River Basin in the southeastern corner of the state. Montana’s second-largest coal mine, the Rosebud surface mine, supplies almost all of its production to the state’s largest electricity-generating station but is currently being mothballed thanks to environmentalist concerns.
Coal has also been an important Montana export, with 78% of it shipped to other states, and the other 22% used by the electric power sector within the state. Exports of coal have increased from 2017 to 2019, although alarmist concerns from Democrat leaders are promising an industry shut-down if Trump is not reelected.