The Coal Export Action Story

In the summer of 2012, something big happened in Montana.  Communities affected by dangerous coal export proposals came together to show we will not stand by while the world’s riches coal companies profit by polluting our communities.  Over the course of a week, hundreds of people gathered at the Montana Capitol for the Coal Export Action, one of the largest displays of public opposition to coal export mining Montana has ever seen.  

Over five days during the Coal Export Action, 23 people affected by coal exports were peacefully arrested, in what we believe is the largest climate-related act of civil disobedience in Montana history.  Partly as a result of the arrests, the Coal Export Action gained enough mainstream and alternative media attention to shift the public dialogue around coal exports in Montana.

Why Direct Action is Necessary

The many groups involved in the Coal Export Action chose peaceful, nonviolent civil disobedience as a tactic for a very good reason.  In the last few years, environmental groups in Montana have tried almost every other option available to us to defend our communities from the threat of coal exports.  Find out more about the Coal Export Action’s principles for civil disobedience.

We’ve petitioned, lobbied, and attended public hearings.  Again and again, we’ve asked decision makers like Montana’s State Land Board to reject coal mine-for-export proposals like Arch Coal’s proposed Otter Creek Mine, which would increase Montana’s dependence on boom-and-bust extraction cycles while contributing to climate change and public health issues.  

Despite these efforts, the Land Board has moved forward with coal export projects, without fully accounting for the health and environmental impacts coal export infrastructure would have on our communities.  Find out how coal exports will affect our communities and the planet.

Sometime in the next several months, the Land Board will have one last chance to say no to the Otter Creek Mine – a project that would open the door to expanded coal mining in vast additional areas of Montana.  And if coal exports are developed on a truly large scale in Montana, avoiding the worst effects of climate change will become almost impossible.

Putting the breaks on this misguided project will require a new kind of political pressure, and a stronger, bolder movement for clean energy than has existed in Montana before.  We saw the birth of this movement at the Coal Export Action, and now we’re continue the momentum.

We can win this fight, but only with your help.  Help continue the momentum from the Coal Export Action, and join the movement for a clean, sustainable energy future in Montana!