Poll finds majority of Montanans oppose mining coal for export
BILLINGS, Mont. – A new poll finds a wide majority of Montanans oppose mining more Montana coal for export to Asia. Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) recently completed a survey of Montana voters and found that 56% of Montana voters oppose mining more Montana coal for export.
Voters were asked the question: “Coal companies are interested in mining coal in Montana and then shipping it by railroad to export to China, saying this will have economic benefits to Montana. Critics say it will primarily benefit companies outside Montana and in China, while Montana communities will carry costs of coal dust, water pollution and lost wildlife habitat. Having heard this, would you support or oppose proposals to mine coal in Montana for shipping to China?”
The poll found that large numbers of Montana voters from all walks of life – women and men, conservatives and liberals, eastern, central and western Montanans – expressed opposition.
A recent report by Sightline Institute highlights that increased levels of coal mining – from the expansion of existing mines such as Spring Creek and Decker, to proposed new mines like Otter Creek – are largely being driven by the prospects of Asian export markets.
“These numbers aren’t surprising,” said Steve Charter, who ranches above Signal Peak Energy’s underground coal mine in the Bull Mountains and is Chair of Northern Plains Resource Council. “More and more Montanans are realizing that mining more Montana coal for export markets in Asia is a raw deal for our land, air, water, and people. Asia gets the energy, corporations get the profits, and Montanans are left paying the costs.”
Methodology: From July 10-13, 2014, FM3 completed 502 telephone interviews (on landlines and cell phones) with Montana voters likely to cast ballots in November 2014. The margin of sampling error is +/-4.4% at the 95% confidence level; margins of error for population subgroups will be higher. Due to rounding, not all totals will sum to 100%.