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Watching our water

Quietly, behind the scenes in Helena, the legislative process churns along with little notice. Fifteen interim committees charged by the legislature with in-depth studies of schools, transportation, energy, water and many other topics meet regularly to provide information to your legislators.

Next week, the Water Policy Interim Committee, created by HB22, will hold it’s next meeting. The eight-member committee will meet Jan. 13-14 to study “topical water quality and quantity issues“. During the January meeting, the committee agenda will include discussions of the effects of exempt wells in Montana and also the effects of coal bed methane water quality and quantity. Comments on these topics will be taken from various stakeholders, state and federal agencies and the public.

The Button Valley Bugle has covered these topics several times. Exempt wells are small production groundwater wells that produce no more than 35 gallons per minute or 10 acre-feet per year. These wells are a good idea. In many parts of Montana, the only water available to a rancher or rural landowner is from groundwater sources. Exempt wells do not need to meet the same permitting criteria as larger withdrawals. Across the western states, the exemption was meant to provide access to water for thinly scattered populations without overburdening the regulatory process. Unfortunately, what worked well for small populations has become a problem as large development has come to the Western states. The Water Policy Committee has put together an excellent primer on the issues associated with exempt wells and associated septic systems, called “Drilling Down“. There are more than 109,000 exempt wells in Montana located in one of the five river basins that are closed to appropriation.  “The drinking water of nearly one of every three Montanans comes from a self-supplied source.” The committee found that,  “In some areas, particularly those in closed basins that are experiencing population growth, there are concerns about the effect of exempt wells on water quantity and the effect of individual septic systems on water quality.” House Bill 52, passed by the 2009 legislative session established a groundwater investigation program by the Bureau of Mines and Geology to provide data on which to base laws that will be needed to address these and other groundwater issues.

Also on the committee agenda next week will be an overview of the problems engendered by coal bed methane drilling. Millions of gallons of, generally poor quality water, is produced during the process of drilling for methane gas in coal seams. If the water is extremely salty, states generally require that it be treated somewhat before being re-used or dumped into a watercourse. If the water is not very salty, drillers are sometimes allowed to release it directly into surface drainages. Methane well operators produce over 650 million barrels of water from coal seams each year that mostly ends up in our waterways. Regulation has generally focused on the quality of the produced water rather than the quantity. EPA recently vowed stricter enforcement against companies that violate the Clean Water Act and has recently found problems with Wyoming’s rules on methane water mainly due to a primary focus on water quality and less on quantity.

Anyone interested in Montana’s water should pay attention to what the Water Policy Interim Committee is doing while the legislature is not in session. You can be sure that many water issues will crop up when the legislature next meets and you can be just as sure that the data and information on which they base any legislation will come from this committee among other sources. Meetings of the committee are broadcast live through their website. You can also find many excellent documents through the site including the Drilling Down exempt well primer, an overview of Coal Bed Methane Water issues and a super handbook on Water Rights in Montana. If you are interested in sending your comments to the committee on any of the water issues that the WPIC will be covering next week, you can email comments to jkolman@mt.gov.

Keeping Montana “Montana”

By Joshua Frank this morning on truthout:

Montana’s “Clean-Coal” Governor’s Climate Change Blunder

(Image: Troy Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Tracy Russo, ambimb, luiznavarro)

For the climate change movement to succeed in 2010, it seems vital that their fight ought to make its way to Montana’s capital in Helena to confront Governor Schweitzer and his pro-coal industry posturing.

In all, a total of 1.3 billion tons of coal will be opened for development, which equates to about 3,834 pounds of CO2 per ton of coal, or a total of 2.6 billion tons of CO2 if all coal is burned to produce electricity – 78 times the state’s annual output of CO2.

Indeed, it is difficult to confront the real, burgeoning threat of climate change when Montana’s own leading Democrat, Governor Schweitzer, believes that coal can be clean.

Difficult indeed.

Oro y Plata y Coal

I guess I don’t remember the big celebration, but in 2008 Montana surpassed Texas to become the 5th largest coal producing state in the Union. We also rank third in the nation in number of craft breweries per capita although I don’t know if there’s a connection. Mining is now such a big contributor to our economy that it provides 7% of our gross state product. Of course health care provides 9% and is expected to grow to 19% by 2020. Retail trade is about 10%, but hey, coal money if free. As long as you don’t include the human costs.

A West Virginia University study found that coal mining provides more than $8 billion to the West Virginia economy.  Of course they also found that it costs the state just over $50 billion for the 1,736 to 2,889 in “excess annual deaths in mining areas“. The conclusion? “The human cost of the
Appalachian coal mining economy outweighs its economic benefits.
” But of course people are cheap and, did I mention, coal money is free?

Disregarding Governor Schweitzer’s incoherent argument that if we don’t mine Otter Creek coal, we will loose our entire white bread supply, I think it may be time to rethink some state policies. In 2007, Schweitzer wrote a letter to eight Western governors and Canadian premiers to say that “Montana wishes to become a full partner of the Western Climate Initiative“. Your governor said “I have been hard at work for several years promoting nationally the importance of moving America too a new energy economy.” Evidently that hard work now includes mining as much filthy coal just as fast as we can. Among the accomplishments cited by the governor were,

  • Economic incentives for the development of low-carbon energy strategies, signed into law in 2007.
  • The formation of a state Climate Change Advisory Council to study ways in which the state can reduce emissions.
  • The adoption of a renewable portfolio standard that sets a target of 15% renewable energy by 2015, signed into law in 2005.
  • A state government energy efficiency initiative targeting a 20% reduction by 2010.

I think it would only be approriate for Governor Schweitzer to send a letter of apology to the Western leaders once the Otter Creek coal is sold. The addendum to his 2007 letter might go something like this;

Sorry Guys,

We thought it over and it looks like Montana is going to have to renege on all that clean energy rhetoric that I spewed a couple of years ago. You see, Montana has decided to sell a billion tons of some of the worst quality coal you can imagine. That coal will add around a couple billion more tons of CO2 to the atmosphere. It looks now like we will be responsible for killing thousands of your citizens and destroying the health and welfare of people around the world. We would really, really, like to make the world a better place to live, but we will get several million dollars for our coal. We feel that we are being forced to take this money to save America’s white bread industry. Of course you can expect that we will use most, if not all of that money, to clean up the mess made by the gigantic coal mines in southeastern Montana, but if there is any money left over, you can be sure that we will donate a couple of million to the rest of you who will be suffering the consequences of our decision.

sincerely,

Brian Schweitzer, Governor, The Saudi Arabia of Coal.

p.s. If you guys come up with any other keen ideas like the Western Climate Initiative, be sure to let me know.

Headline:
Colorado school trust fund to drop by $21 million after coal production decline

DENVER (AP) — A drop in coal production is part of the reason Colorado’s school land trust is expected to decline by $21 million by June. The Denver Post reports that the falling revenues are forcing the State Land Board to reevaluate how [much] the trust gets in revenue. The trust fund has relied on mineral revenues in the last decade and that has become about 80 percent of its source of revenue…

Nothing to see here. Move along.

As expected, the State Land Board just voted 4-1 to lease the Otter Creek coal tracts. After a lively public comment period that ran more than ten to one against leasing, the vote fell pretty much the way everyone said it would. The sole No vote came from Denise Juneau, Superintendent of Public Instruction, citing the harm we are doing to future generations. Her vote is telling since Montana schools are supposed to be the primary beneficiary of the coal money.

There was a lot of talk about “fiduciary responsibility” and likely a lot of drooling among the board members. Most of the board members stated loudly and often that there would be NO state subsidies for the Tongue River Railroad. I don’t really see that as a factor that would stop the line from being built if the coal is mined. The benefit of the rail line is too great for the coal companies. Secretary of State Linda McCulloch proposed the lone amendment upping the minimum bonus bid from $0.10 to $0.25 per ton. The amendment also says that all money raised by the bonus bid will go  directly to schools and that the legislature is not allowed to offset or reduce the bid money with reductions in money for schools from the general fund. I suspect that the legislature will have something to say about that. They also placed a 45-day limit on the bid so that they will know the outcome by the Feb. meeting.

There are still several steps left before the coal can be mined, but those steps also have to be approved by the same folks who just voted to accept a $150 million bribe from Arch Coal. It’s not time to give up yet however, on stopping the mines. Many good reasons were brought up by commenters on why the mining should not proceed to the permit stage. There will be ample opportunity at each stage for Montanans to keep pounding on our state leaders to help them see the light. We refuse to give up 20,000 acres of Montana, the Tongue River Valley and our children’s health without a fight.

Otter Creek and Utter Rhetoric

Just a quick reminder. The State Land Board meets tomorrow at 9am in Helena to decide the fate of the state portion of the Otter Creek coal tracts. If you don’t have anything in particular to do, the meeting will be broadcast live on the internet. The fate of Otter Creek is late on the agenda, but agendas change.

A big tip of the Bugle fedora to 22 Democratic state lawmakers who wrote to the Land Board to refute a letter last week by 14 Republicans claiming that global warming is just “rhetoric” and urging the Board to “develop our vast coal treasure”. The Dems countered that,

“While everyone is entitled to an opinion, there is only one set of facts. The facts are clear: Climate change is real, the pace of change is quickening, and the effects are increasingly widespread, disastrous and destined to spread across the landscape with great indifference to the impacts on humanity.”

“Burning 575 million tons of coal from the Otter Creek Valley in existing power plants would result in emission of carbon-dioxide statewide,” the Democratic lawmakers said. “A billion tons of carbon-dioxide is an enormous amount that would contribute to environmental problems for decades to come.

It’s refreshing to see that at least some in the legislature retain a hold on their sanity.

Also, a mighty thumbs up to Mike Dennison for pointing out that, “Otter Creek revenue may not increase funding for schools” as has been claimed by some mining proponents.

“Here’s how the funding streams work, on leased state minerals and mine development:
The company that leases the Otter Creek coal would pay a “bonus bid” into a fund that goes directly to public schools next year, probably at least $57 million. However, that amount will be offset by a reduction in money budgeted for schools from the state’s general fund. The end result is a $57 million windfall for the state’s general fund. Schools get the same amount of state money that the 2009 Legislature authorized.”

No matter how many millions Montana gets from leasing the Otter Creek coal, funding for schools still has to go through a legislature that doesn’t believe we should have public schools and that the money could be better spent saving guns and fetuses. If you haven’t sent an opinion on Otter Creek to the Land Board yet, you still have today to let them know that this is a really, really stupid thing to do.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer — (406) 444-3111, governor@mt.gov

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Denise Juneau — In-State Toll-Free 1-888-231-9393, Local (406) 444-3095 OPISupt@mt.gov

Attorney General Steve Bullock – (406) 444-2026 contact doj@mt.gov

State Auditor Monica Lindeen – (406) 444-2040 mlindeen@mt.gov

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch – (406) 444-2034 sos.mt.gov

Otter Creek; Buried Treasure or Sleeping Dog?

It was Sir Robert Walpole, Prime Minister to King George I of Britain who said “Let sleeping dogs lie” in reference to the American colonies. Better to walk softly than risk getting bit. He also said that, “Every man has his price“. It seems that fourteen Montana republicans have found their price in the Otter Creek coal tracts.

A letter to the State Land Board by fourteen eastern Montana legislators authored by Rep. Tom McGillvray of Billings says, “It is time to stop leaving our treasure buried in the ground!” Appropriately enough, all fourteen are Republican state legislators. They believe that the Land Board should ignore warnings that burning the more than 1 billion tons of coal will accelerate global warming during the very time that the world is trying to find ways to reduce the disastrous effects of burning carbon. Of course, being true conservatives, the gang of fourteen don’t believe in science or the evidence of change in their own state. ““I just have serious doubt, based on the scientists out there who are disputing that fact. I don’t think it’s a given, settled science.” McGillvray states in the letter. For republicans, it’s always about the money. Ignore the fact that we will strip mine 20,000 acres of Montana. Ignore that we will destroy the Tongue River Valley and steal the land and livelihood of our neighbors farming and ranching along the river with the Tongue River Railroad. Pay no attention to the fact that impacts of coal pollutants fall disproportionately on children, contributing to decreased lung development,  asthma, increases in infant mortality, reduced IQ and mental retardation. Who cares how many people we kill or what harm we do to the planet when, “The economic impact of developing the Otter Creek coal tracts and the resulting tax revenue that will provide funding for the future well-being of the state of Montana is unprecedented.” It’s all about the money.

I won’t go into the science of climate change. No matter what Tom McGillvray and the gang of fourteen say, the science is settled. The EPA website along with thousands of reputable scientists worldwide say,

The global temperature record shows an average warming of about 1.3°F (0.74ºC) over the past century. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. Within the past 30 years, the rate of warming across the globe has been approximately three times greater than the rate over the last 100 years. Past climate information suggests the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1,300 years in the Northern Hemisphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that warming of the Earth’s climate system is now “unequivocal” (i.e., “definite”).

The Bugle has covered the Otter Creek many times in the past. I do however agree with one phrase in the letter, “It is time for action… ” It’s time to let the State Land Board know that now is not the time for Montana to be contemplating pouring more than a billion tons of the worlds most polluting energy source into the market. The human costs are too great and the returns too small. The Board will meet next week to decide on leasing our share of the low quality coal from Otter Creek. Contact members of the Land Board and let them know that now is the time to let sleeping dogs [and coal] lie.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer — (406) 444-3111, governor@mt.gov

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Denise Juneau — In-State Toll-Free 1-888-231-9393, Local (406) 444-3095 OPISupt@mt.gov

Attorney General Steve Bullock – (406) 444-2026 contact doj@mt.gov

State Auditor Monica Lindeen – (406) 444-2040 mlindeen@mt.gov

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch – (406) 444-2034 sos.mt.gov

Clean Coal, Black Lungs

If we were to manage to remove every milligram of CO2 from coal plant emissions, coal would still be one of the most deadly substances on earth. In 1969, Congress passed the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, which set coal-dust standards for mines designed to reduce the incidence of black lung disease in U.S. mines. Since that time, Republican adminstrations have fought to get government out of business and reduce the regulatory burden on industry. Regulators reduced inspections and monitoring, mines reduced their workforces, increased the length of work shifts, introduced machinery that creates more dust and increased production. Workers are cheap.

graphic from Wall Street Journal

Today, 9% of American miners with more than 25 years in the mines test positive for black lung disease. That number is up 5% from the 1990s. Incidence of the disease has been increasing for decades. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health,

Black lung accounts for more deaths than do mine accidents, including explosions and cave-ins. More than 10,000 miners have died from the disease during the past decade, compared with fewer than 400 from mine accidents.

The federal government has paid out more than $44 billion in compensation for miners totally disabled by black lung since 1970, according to the Labor Department’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.

No matter how many billions of dollars the federal government pumps into cleaning up the image of Big Coal and chasing the fantasy of CCS, coal is an environmental nightmare and a vicious killer.

China coal mine blast death toll jumps to 87
Inspector Killed, 3 Injured at Alabama Coal Mine
Mine Blast Kills 19 in Turkey
Remembering the Kingston, Tenn., coal-ash disaster

Running away from Otter Creek

There have been several articles about Otter Creek and coal in recent days that bear mention. Nobel laureate and UM climate specialist Steve Running and retired UM economist Tom Power addressed members of the State Land Board on Tuesday on the foolhardiness of selling Otter Creek coal. Running “didn’t mince words” according to the Missoulian. “Are we going to burn another billion tons of coal, or aren’t we?” “That, to me, is where all this global theory (on climate change) comes right back down to this kind of decision-making. Here we are in Montana making a real-life decision that is exactly this decision multiplied worldwide.

Tom Power “also urged the Land Board to demand a more detailed appraisal of the Otter Creek coal, analyzing coal markets more closely. Power said Otter Creek’s high-sodium coal may very well compete with existing Montana coal mines, hurting revenue streams from those mines.”

In another telling commentary in the Great Falls Tribune yesterday, Wally McRae, Montana poet and philosopher extrondiaire, who ranches near the Otter Creek tracts, sees a double standard over our outrage to any proposed coal development in the headwaters of the Flathead River and our opposite reaction to the same development occurring along Otter Creek. “Any similar development east of Billings — however disruptive to the sociology, culture, envi­ronment and long-term eco­nomic viability – is met with great enthusiasm.

If the State Land Board leases the Otter Creek Coal at a sub­sidy rate, the savings to the developers will finance the Tongue River Railroad, a private company, which will then use federal condemnation under eminent domain to take our land, thus fulfilling one of the goals of the North Central Power Study. No problem. After all, its east of Billings where things don’t count.

Montana DEQ on Tuesday, declared that they will propose new CO2 limits in Montana. In response to a recent EPA finding that global warming pollution endangered the health and welfare of Americans and must be reduced, DEQ said that they will propose that the Board of Environmental Review adopt the EPA-recommend­ed threshold of 25,000 tons per year, regulating any facility that emits at least 25,000 tons of CO2 per year.

EPA has cocked the hammer on Congress to do something about greehouse gases and do it soon or EPA will begin regulation under their authority by the Clean Air Act. At the same time, Montana is proposing for sale, an additional two billion tons of the dirtiest fuel known to man. Coal is responsible for more than 50% of all U.S. CO2 emissions. Montana already produces 44 million tons of coal per year and we ship 2/3 of that out of state. Great Northern Properties, who own half of the Otter Creek reserves, believes that they can market the coal overseas creating no competition or problems for Montana coal producers. “According to the Governor’s Climate Change Advisory Com­mittee, Montana’s 2010 CO2 emissions are expected to be 49.8 million tons. The state’s eight coal-fired power plants account for about half of that amount,”

The world is meeting in Copenhagen this week to try to agree on some kind of plan for reducing global CO2 emissions before it is too late. Many believe that it may be too late already. Meanwhile, in Montana, we want to increase our output of the worlds most polluting fuel all for a few dollars that the legislature will spend in one session. We are totally absorbed with worry about leaving our children with an increased debt load rather than worrying whether or not they will inherit a planet that is fit to live on. Is this really the direction we want to go? Please contact the State Land Board. They will decide on Dec. 21 whether or not to lease another 600 million tons of coal from the Otter Creek tracts. Don’t leave our children with this legacy.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer — (406) 444-3111, governor@mt.gov

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Denise Juneau — In-State Toll-Free 1-888-231-9393, Local (406) 444-3095 OPISupt@mt.gov

Attorney General Steve Bullock – (406) 444-2026 contact doj@mt.gov

State Auditor Monica Lindeen – (406) 444-2040 mlindeen@mt.gov

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch – (406) 444-2034 sos.mt.gov

Coal Kills Kids

On Monday, the Montana State Land Board decided to delay a decision on leasing the state-owned parcels of coal in the Otter Creek tracts. “The board said more time is needed for the public to examine the proposed bid-letting.” The real reason was likely to let them figure out how to maximize the monetary return, but we’ll go with their publicly stated purpose. They have given us another thirty days to comment on the leases.

The Otter Creek tracts are a small part of Montana’s 5.1 million acres of school trust lands. These lands are used to provide revenue for our public schools and university system. By now we all know that the US gets about 50% of our electricity by burning coal which is the filthiest source of power going. Burning coal is a leading cause of smog, acid rain, global warming, and air pollution. Coal plants put millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each day, endangering our fragile planet.

Yesterday, Physicians for Social Responsibility along with the American Lung Association and the American Nurses Association, released a report on the devastating human health impacts of the entire life cycle of mining and burning coal and disposing of wastes. The report found that,

Coal pollutants affect all major body organ systems and contribute to four of the five leading causes of mortality in the U.S.: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases.

They also found that the impacts of coal pollutants fall disproportionately on children, contributing to decreased lung development,  asthma, increases in infant mortality, reduced IQ and mental retardation. And,

Unless we address coal, the U.S. will be unable to achieve the reductions in carbon emissions necessary to stave off the worst health impacts of global warming.

Is this really the way we want to support Montana children? Contributing to their health problems today and reducing their survival chances in the future? Many countries have already come to the conclusion that burning coal is not a viable source of power for the future. “Australia is turning away from coal. Just one of the power stations under construction around the country is set to be fueled by coal, with investors instead turning to gas and wind to provide the electricity of the future.” In Washington state there is only one remaining coal-fired power plant and some see this new report as one more reason to make Washington the first “Coal Free State“.

Is coal really the legacy we want to leave Montana’s children? The Otter Creek coal could not come on line for at least a decade and by then we will be well into the global push to replace our dirty energy sources with cleaner alternatives. There are many, many good reasons why mining the Otter Creek tracts is a really bad deal for Montana, but most of all we should not claim that we are helping our kids by becoming the “Saudi Arabia of Coal“. Please let the members of the State Land Board know that we don’t want our children to inherit a planet that we made worse using a false justification of helping them. Please write or call the Land Board.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer — (406) 444-3111, governor@mt.gov

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Denise Juneau — In-State Toll-Free 1-888-231-9393, Local (406) 444-3095 OPISupt@mt.gov

Attorney General Steve Bullock – (406) 444-2026 contact doj@mt.gov

State Auditor Monica Lindeen – (406) 444-2040 mlindeen@mt.gov

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch – (406) 444-2034 sos.mt.gov

Carbon hush money

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) is a recently discovered technology that will allow energy companies to reduce that large, uncomfortable bulge in your wallet. We have been burning coal for a couple of hundred years, but it seems that we have only recently realized that carbon-based fuels are dirty. They kill millions of people a year and are endangering the entire planet. According to large coal companies, the best way to deal with the problem of filthy, unhealthy power production is to give extremely large government subsidies to any industry that might kill us.

Coal companies believe that CCS technologies may, someday, perhaps, be able to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that we pump into the atmosphere. But, it will require a large infusion of public money to test and prove the technology. They have yet to explain why, if this is really such a problem, they have failed for over a century to put any of their own money into the technology. Legislation currently moving through Congress will throw billions of taxpayer dollars at energy companies that they will, hopefully, liberally spend on public relations, building large test facilities and creating thousands of jobs, rather than on lobbying Congress against climate change legislation. Companies have spent billions in the last twenty years lobbying and crying about limiting greenhouse gases rather than investing in CCS or other cleaner technologies. They currently invest a pittance of their own money in the technology, hoping instead for a large endowment of public money.

The Department of Energy is pushing toward a goal of having 20 CCS demonstration projects up and running in the U.S. by 2010. Hundreds of projects are underway around the world. Optimistic projections think we may see CCS on a commercial scale by 2020. Skeptics think possibly 2030 or later. One DOE project in Mississippi has become the first in the nation to inject more than 1 million tons of the greenhouse gas into the ground. They hope to eventually reach a goal of sequestering 1.5 million tons. So, let’s see, we only produce a little over 6 billion tons of CO2 per year so, we only need another 6,000 such plants. Oh wait, I forgot, CCS technology eats up one-third of the power produced so, we will need to build another polluting power plant for every two that sequester their carbon. Most current sequestration projects pump their captured CO2 into depleted oil fields to enhance recovery of oil which is then burned to produce power, creating more greenhouse gases, pretty much a wash for the atmosphere.

CCS projects have proven to be extremely expensive even with massive public subsidies. Capital Power of Alberta, Canada dropped plans for a subsidized sequestration project last month due to cost. Two other planned Canadian projects would store about 2 million tons of Canada’s current 700 million ton output. There is much doubt whether CCS will ever be financially feasible even if the technology proves out.

The American Coal Energy and Security Act now in the House provides $10 billion to coal-fired electricity producers over the next ten years. $500 million of that goes for just “administrative expenses”. You can expect to see that charge on your electric bill. Bonus payments in the bill will “essentially cover the full capital costs of constructing a CCS-capable coal plant — about $3.5 billion each“. Plants will be paid $50-$90 per ton for the carbon sequestered. That means that the Mississippi plant would have earned around $70 million for its sequestered carbon dioxide. There are no comparable subsidies for cleaner technologies such as wind or solar. Big coal comes out the big winner along with state and local governments which will reap tax income from the demonstration plants and jobs. It appears that coal and energy companies will be big winners with CCS whether the technology ever proves out or not. Their coffers will be bloated with payoffs from public funds for the next couple of decades and all they have to do is keep their mouths shut about the government regulating greenhouse gases.