Each of the event’s speakers, including U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and John Ostlund, a Yellowstone County commissioner, praised the state’s coal industry, and Mayor Tom Hanel proclaimed Saturday Coal Appreciation Day in Billings.
“Our purpose,” said event organizer Greg Kohn, “is to promote coal as a dependable, affordable energy source.”
Daines, who’s being opposed by Democrat Amanda Curtis in a Senate bid, noted that Montana’s coal reserves can meet the nation’s energy needs for the next century. More than half of Montana’s energy comes from coal, he said, and state coffers receive about $125 million in tax revenues from the industry.
Recent well-publicized executions by the Islamic State, known both as ISIS and ISIL, “highlight the need for energy security,” Daines said, and “the sooner that energy independence happens, the more secure we’ll be.”
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