Where We Stand Now

Wow.  It’s been quite a wild week and a half in Montana.

On Monday, the last group of people arrested for civil disobedience during the Coal Export Action were arraigned in court and released, capping off eight days of action against coal.  23 people were arrested over the course of a week, and hundreds more participated in the Coal export Action to support them.

And that’s not all.  Our actions captured the Montana media’s attention (see just a few of our media hits here, here, here, here, and here).  And partly thanks to attention to the issue generated by our actions, Arch Coal’s proposal to build the Otter Creek Mine received some scrutiny the company wasn’t expecting.

Now the action is over, it’s time to assess what we accomplished – and what work still remains.  We’ve got lots to be thankful for: new records set for climate-related activism, the largely positive media coverage, and the fact that we’ve built a new kind of movement in Montana, one that could actually be powerful enough to dethrone Big Coal.

But we’ve always known it would take more than one protest, no matter how impactful, to stop coal exports.  It will take a sustained movement, unfolding over months or years, to finally win this fight.  Fortunately, what happened last week suggests we’ve got the beginning of the movement we need.

Over the next few months, the groups that organized the Coal Export Action will be working to build on the momentum we generated last week.  We’ll be launching a series of new campaigns and projects aimed at challenging the corporate and political players that make the coal industry in Montana so powerful.

We’re up against some of the most powerful companies in the world – but that in itself means there are innumerable opportunities to chip away at Big Coal’s power base.  From banks that fund companies like Arch Coal, to investors who’ve put their money into mines and coal-bearing railroads, hundreds of people and companies are propping up coal exports and can be challenged accordingly.

Some of these players are Montana based, meaning much of our most important work will continue to center in the Montana communities where this movement started.  But others are national or international corporations – meaning anyone in the world can play a part in challenging coal exports.

In the next few months we’ll start pressuring some of these corporate targets.  Meanwhile we’ll be activating our allies, working with groups of people who may care about the impacts of coal exports, but haven’t yet had a way to make their voices heard.  Of course, everything we do is ultimately designed to get decision makers like the Montana Land Board to reject coal export mines.  And yes, when the time comes to put our bodies on the line and risk arrest again, we’ll be ready.

We’ll also be re-vamping this web site soon, to make it a hub for a growing, changing movement against coal exports.  So keep checking here for more updates.  With your help, we’ve launched a new kind of movement in Montana.  Now we need you to stay with us.

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