Letter to the Editor: Musselshell Supports Signal Peak Mine | Letters to the Editor

As Musselshell County Commissioners, we would like to comment on the criticisms of Steve Charter and the Northern Plains Resource Council of the Signal Peak Energy Coal Mine. We fully support our mine, as do the majority of residents in our county. Signal Peak Energy pays over a third of our property taxes, and through the Signal Peak Community Foundation, they provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for improvements not only for our county, but also for the town of Roundup and our Roundup Memorial Hospital.

In addition, the county receives a raw coal tax, a tax on every ton of coal produced in our county. And, I might add, when the mine goes through Yellowstone County, they also get revenue. This tax is the only reason we can give all our employees a well-deserved raise. This climate of high inflation and declining mill value has our county struggling, the loss of our mine would be devastating.

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Any inconvenience to property owners near the mine pales in comparison to the good it does for our county and our residents. The coal this mine produces is low in sulfur and high in BTUs and is in high demand by countries trying to reduce their climate impact. Believe it or not, coal is going to be an energy source for quite some time to come. Wind and solar are far from viable substitutes. I know the mine had many issues but they have been addressed and resolved. Any big business has a lot of oversight, so they have to follow all the regulations.

I wonder if Mr. Charter and the NPRC have thought by how much property taxes should be increased to compensate for any reduction in Signal Peak coal production. The county should cut a lot of services and employees. I am a farmer and rancher and I believe in conservation, but I also believe in doing what is best for our county and our community. Watch Signal Peak and call them to duty when they break regulations, but don’t get in the way of the good they do for our county.

Musselshell County Commission Chairman

Carol N. Valencia