Plains Justice Recruiting New Board Members

As our founding board members are gradually replaced (and remembered with fond gratitude!), Plains Justice is looking to expand representation across our region by actively recruiting Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota board members.  If you or someone you know is interested in supporting a clean energy transition on the northern plains and has some expertise (or enthusiasm – we can teach you!) and time to contribute, please get in touch by calling our Billings, MT office at 406-969-1040.  We’re also looking for a few good board members from other parts of the country who have a heart for our region and want to be involved here.  Thank you!

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September Clean Energy Ambassadors Webinar Focuses on Schools

Register now for the September 20 Clean Energy Ambassadors webinar, “Back to School: How Utilities Help Schools Use On-site Renewables for Energy Education” on our Clean Energy Ambassadors program website.  The Ambassadors program got its start in 2007 when retiring Waverly (IA) Light & Power General Manager (and past American Public Power Association Chair) Glenn Cannon agreed to work with us to launch a clean energy outreach to municipal electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives.  Today our Ambassadors include staffers, consultants, and volunteer utility experts from around the country who share their program expertise in the interest of promoting robust clean energy programming.  Our website, webinars, trainings, and consulting are all low-cost or no-cost for consumer-owned utilities.  Your donations to Plains Justice help support this innovative, high-impact outreach!

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New Keystone XL Article

Plains Justice President Carrie La Seur has a new Keystone XL article on, noting the many unresolved issues raised by Plains Justice’s 2010 pipeline safety reports.  In light of the recent Yellowstone River spill, these issues are more urgent than ever.

Posted in Agriculture, North Dakota, Plains Justice, tar sands | 1 Comment

Dickinson (ND) Press Fracking Editorial

In a Sunday editorial, Jennifer McBride, Managing Editor of the Dickinson Press in southwestern North Dakota, called for “drastic action” if a new EPA drinking water safety study shows that hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) puts drinking water at risk.  She writes:

Without water, what are we? Without water, there is no we. There is nothing.

This is pretty strong language for a small newspaper at the edge of the booming Bakken oil field, where any criticism of the fossil fuel industry can be taken as fighting words.  Kudos to McBride for saying what needs to be said about the value of water in dry country.

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South Heart (ND) Informal Conference June 28, 7pm in Dickinson

Posted in Agriculture, climate change, Coal, Dakota Resource Council, North Dakota, South Heart, South Heart | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Reclamation Letter to the Bismarck Tribune

Reclamation is not so advanced

By GENE WIRTZ Underwood
Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Coal mining reclamation in North Dakota is far less advanced than Ron Harper
suggests in his May 9 opinion piece.

He says Coteau’s Freedom Mine has reclaimed 13,285 acres of land, for
example, but the state has issued bond release on only 1,038 acres of land
disturbed by mining that are now used for agriculture, according to the
Public Service Commission.

Those 1,038 acres represent only slightly more than 2 percent of the land
under permit to Coteau, the state’s largest mine, which, incidentally, holds
ownership of most of the land it mines.

Harper is evidently counting as “reclaimed” all lands that have been mined
and are now being farmed. But reclamation is still in process until the land
passes muster at a final bond release. Only at the final bond release does a
company have to prove it has restored agricultural land to pre-mining
productivity and replaced damaged water resources as required under state
law. Sadly, Coteau’s poor record on bond release is still better than the
record of the state’s second-largest mine, Falkirk.

Falkirk has nearly 35,000 acres in its mining permit and has yet to gain
bond release on a single acre of land for agricultural use.

There is no reason to expect that a new mine at South Heart will do better
than the state’s existing mines when it comes to proving the productivity of
“reclaimed” lands.

Take a drive along state Highway 200, as Harper suggests. Stop on your way
and ask a farmer, “Do you think farmers will ever get back the land that’s
being mined?”

(Gene Wirtz is a member of the Dakota Resource Council.)

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Coal Cares

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) Announces “Coal Cares™” Initiative, New Nationwide Campaign Against Stigma of Childhood Asthma

ST. LOUIS, May 10, 2011 / PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Peabody Energy today announced the creation of an innovative new public health initiative designed to combat the stigma of asthma among American children ages 0-18. With Coal Cares™ (, Peabody will offer free, custom-branded inhaler actuators to children living within 200 miles of a coal plant, along with coupons worth $10 towards the purchase of the asthma medication itself.

“Too many young Americans face daily schoolyard taunting and bullying because of a condition over which they have no control,” said Gregory H. Boyce, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Peabody Energy. “By re-branding the inhaler as a cool, individualized, must-have accessory, Coal Cares™ will empower children to tell bullies: ‘suck it up.’” Children can choose from a variety of youth-themed inhaler cases, from tween faves like “the Bieber” and “My Little Pony,” to the “Emo” and “Diamond” inhalers for older, style-conscious youth. There’s even “My First Inhaler,” for tots.

Coal Cares™ launches today in commemoration of Asthma Awareness Month, the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to call attention to rising asthma rates, especially among children. Coal Cares™ and its Puff-Puff™ line of inhalers is the first, and most ambitious, market-friendly public health initiative of this scope of any privately-owned American company, and testifies to the energy industry’s commitment to the well-being of all citizens, including the youngest.

“Our actions are guided by a singular mission: to be a leading worldwide producer and supplier of balanced energy solutions, which power economic prosperity and well-being,” said Boyce. “Coal Cares™ brings this mission to life, empowering children everywhere to take control of their destinies, beginning with their own lungs.”

“Coal Cares™ is emblematic of the return to self-reliance that healthy entrepreneurship demands,” said James Miasmus, Vice President of Government Affairs at Peabody USA. “Costly ‘scrubbing’ technology, on the other hand, is an untested and heavy-handed intrusion into our still-vulnerable economy. At Peabody, we’re thinking globally but acting locally, and locating preventive action at the point of consumption, where it belongs.”

“Coal Cares™ isn’t just the name of a campaign,” said Kevin Briesslau, Vice President of Communications at Peabody Coal. “It’s a philosophy, a way of doing business in harmony with the community we are a part of. After all, coal is the fastest-growing fuel in the world. We’re part of America’s heritage, and we’re here to stay.”

To learn more about Peabody’s Coal Cares™ initiative,

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) is the world’s largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in clean coal solutions. With 2010 sales of 246 million tons and nearly $7 billion in revenues, Peabody fuels 10 percent of U.S. power and 2 percent of worldwide electricity.

Vic Ganey
Phone (314) 472-5539

SOURCE Peabody Energy

Posted in Coal | 3 Comments