This breaking news story has the potential to change both Montana’s economy and the world’s energy production. A helpful synopsis of the ‘big-picture’ issues underscoring this narrative will first be provided, followed with the details of what’s happening on the ground here in the Big Sky State. For inexplicable reasons, the mainstream Montana and national press has not yet reported on what could shape up to be one of the most consequential world news stories of the next year.
There are several moving parts in this report of how Montana Public Service Commissioner, Randy Pinocci, Crow Nations President, A.J. Not Afraid, and other tribal leaders are potentially on the cusp of simultaneously solving Montana’s coal crisis and – at the same time – helping important American allies find energy solutions and solving a geopolitical trade problem that potentially could benefit the globe.
The United States relies heavily upon the Nation of Israel as our strongest ally in the Middle East. The energy-starved, land-locked nation is of important strategic interest to the U.S. and receives roughly 3.8 billion dollars of aid from their American allies each year. In exchange, the Israelis assist the United States in policing the Middle East, help with important intelligence-gathering in the War of Terror, and provide assistance to U.S. military operations.
THE ISRAELI ENERGY CRISIS
Ironically, Israel has to rely upon Russia – which is neither a friend of the United States nor Israel – for coal to power its economy. Although the nation has invested in the production of natural gas deposits over the last ten years, 26% of Israel’s energy production remains coal-powered. Much of that coal comes from Russia in an energy trade partnership that began in the early 1950s as Israel’s Arab neighbors put a fuel embargo on the Jewish state. Israel, which remains committed to a cleaner environment, has issued carbon emission goals that have almost everyone wondering how their ambitions will ever be met with their current reliance upon coal and petroleum. Nonetheless, Israel has ordered a shut-down of its older coal plants and placed strict guidelines that limit the capacity of its other coal plants in the name of eco-friendliness.
FUNDING THE ENEMY
However, Russia remains one of the chief agitators of conflict and international hostility in the Middle East. In 2019, Israel had to formally request that Russia stop selling arms to Israel’s enemies like Iran. In return, Israel had to stop selling weapons to Russia’s enemy, Ukraine (an American ally). But U.S. foreign intelligence has warned it is doubtful that Russia has actually stopped exporting the munitions and rockets used to attack them from Palestine and its hostile neighbors. Most Americans are probably aware that billions of our federal tax dollars support the Israeli state, but few likely know that Israel, in turn, gives hundreds of millions to Russia for coal. Russia then spends billions funding American and Israeli attackers in the Middle East.
MONTANA’S ENERGY CRISIS
Meanwhile, 6.5 thousand miles away, the Montana coal industry is suffering greatly. The Colstrip power plant has had to endure a shutdown of Units 1 and 2 due to diminished demand as West Coast consumers have moved to cleaner forms of energy. But in the United States, which has an edge on most nations because of readily available access to alternative clean energy including hydropower, nuclear energy, and an increased capacity for wind and solar, there seems to be little reason to currently invest in coal. Last year alone, Montana coal production was down 21%. That decline is expected to grow, as coal plants – such as in Sidney – face closure due to decreased demand.
Other nations, especially smaller ones that are landlocked – like Israel – do not have access to the same alternative energy sources as the United States. Coal is, far and away, the most reasonable, cost-efficient, and practical energy solution to power much of the world’s economy. The world currently consumes more than 8 trillion tons of coal each year, an absolutely staggering figure. Unlike in the United States, coal use in the world – which remained steady throughout most of the 20th Century – has spiked upward since the turn of the century. Simply put, coal is not going away any time soon on the global market. Current consumption remains at only .8% of the world’s known reserves, with 99.2% of world reserves still readily available.
But what should be said of coal’s impact on the environment, which is not classified as “clean” as it compares to nuclear or alternative ‘green energy’? While the world shares the United States’ and Israel’s concern over the environment, there is simply no practical alternative. Coal is here to stay.
THE PINOCCI-CROW SOLUTION
While Randy Pinocci has remained brazenly unphased and nonplused by recent attacks upon him by the Billings Gazette and state liberals, we now know why. Pinocci has been laboring tirelessly – on his own dime – to put together what seems to be a brilliant plan to save Montana’s energy industry while helping the environment, saving Montana’s energy economy, fixing Israel’s energy woes, and potentially saving America billions in foreign aid. Working alongside him is the Crow Nation, including Crow President A.J. Not Afraid.
The Pinocci-Crow Plan seems simple enough; export Montana’s coal to the world, using coal as the currency of foreign aid.
The plan ostensibly has the following benefits:
(1) Environmental Impact. Coal produced by the Crow Nation is cleaner than coal being used throughout the rest of the world. As a matter of fact, Montana coal, in general, is cleaner than that used over most of the globe. The Decker Coal Mine, the Westmoreland Mines, and the Spring Creek Mine are just some of the examples of the Montana coal sources that are better and cleaner than that in the rest of the world. If the whopping 41% of the world that uses coal would use Montana coal, the positive environmental impact could potentially be huge.
(2) Saving Federal Tax Dollars The U.S. currently spends between 40 and 50 billion dollars in foreign aid each year. Most of this money is going to developing nations. And developing nations are where coal use is growing the most because it is the most cost-effecient form of energy production. The developing world is also where 63% of the world’s air pollution comes from, meaning that they can especially benefit from Montana’s cleaner coal. But if Pinocci and Crow leadership are right, the United States can save billions of dollars in aid by shipping nations coal instead of giving them cash. Not only would this save Montana’s coal industry, but it would also keep American dollars from being used, in a round-about way (as in Israel) that benefit our enemies as much as our allies. While dollars can be funneled eventually to purchase Palestinian or Iranian rockets, coal cannot be. While dollars can be misused by nations with dubious or greedy leadership, coal has to be burned for energy.
(3) Saving Montana’s Energy Industry and American Jobs Pinocci and Crow leadership have an optimistic outlook that presumes American coal production doesn’t have to stop just because American energy needs change. The world still needs coal, and that means that the coal industry can still go to work. Montana’s coal industry pays for public education, libraries, infrastructure, and provides for the general welfare. If it can keep going – and the Pinocci-Crow Plan seems to be the only thing that can make it happen – it might just end up saving Montana’s COVID-19 economy and billions of American foreign aid dollars.
There are other possible benefits as well. Sources spoken to by the Montana Daily Gazette indicate that talks are also in the works that could potentially keep Units 1 and 2 of the Colstrip Power Plant operational by diverting power to the sovereign tribal nations in Montana, for example, who could purchase it inexpensively but cover costs of production.
The Montana Daily Gazette spoke to Crow Leadership, who excitedly embraced Pinocci’s proposals over the last several days. Those interviews and additional information will be released at the Montana Daily Gazette on Monday. This follows up on several days of meetings between Pinocci and the Crow Nation, in which Pinocci spoke to more than three-thousand attendees who coronated his talk with thunderous applause and acclamation. Pinocci has made his proposals in Israel, where he traveled at his own expense, who was receptive to his advice that they invest in Montana coal rather than dealing with Russia. Additionally, Pinocci also offered aspects of his plan in-person to U.S. Energy Department officials.