The Western Organization of Resources Council sent out a press release this morning stating the Biden Administration's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ended the federal government's coal leasing at the Powder River Basin in southeast Montana.

The press release warns of "significant impacts to our climate, human health, and the environment" if coal mining continues in the nation's leading region for coal-producing. BLM will move away from coal and "move toward a clean energy future," according to Board Member of the Powder River Basin Resouce Council Lynne Huskinson.

The board sees it as a win for the environment as a whole, but a group greatly impacted by federal coal leasing in the region is farmers and ranchers. Communications Director Dustin Ogdin with the Northern Plains Resource Council says coal mining can impact ranchers' farmland and irrigation water.

Rancher and member of the Northern Plains Resource Council Mark Fix said it's a decision longtime in the making.

"The BLM released a common sense plan that reflects the reality of today's coal markets," Fix said via press release. "Coal companies in this region already have decades of coal locked up under leases, and it's hard to imagine they'll find buyers that far into the future given the competition from more affordable energy sources."

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As is with everything, there are two different opinions to the story. Governor Greg Giantforte along with Senator Steve Dains and Congressmen Ryan Zink and Matt Rosendale released a statement condemning President Biden's actions.

"Every action taken by the Biden administration is driving up the cost of affordable energy and threatening the reliability of our electrical grid," said Gianforte's press release. "Affordable power generated by coal keeps the lights on in Montana and fuels manufacturing across the country and world."

Photo Courtesy of Western Organization of Resources Council
Photo Courtesy of Western Organization of Resources Council

Renewable energy has been in the forefront for a couple of weeks now. Last week, United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited Montana highlighting the pursuit of car charging ports across Montana.

READ MORE: Exclusive Interview With Secretary Buttigieg In Montana

We will continue to follow this story.


Gallery Credit: KC

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