It has become perfectly clear that proponents of building new high voltage transmission lines to ship Montana wind energy out of state are pushing jobs and economic development in their effort to pass HB- 198 and give corporations the right of eminent domain.
They certainly can't justify it on the basis of CO2 reduction. Given wind's variability, these lines will carry 65 percent coal-fired electricity.
In addition, if Otter Creek and Spring Creek coal is sold, transported and burned, Montana coal will increase it's annual contribution of CO2 emissions from 76 million tons to 163 million tons, a 114 percent increase.
If Montana's projected wind generation is factored in, the increase would be 96 percent. Montana "Talks Wind" but "Walks Coal."
So proponents claim that corporate eminent domain is absolutely essential to spur economic development and create jobs, yet they never produce objective, independent analyses to substantiate their claims.
Reports that do project job creation and economic growth all have two things in common:
1. They were paid for or authorized by proponents of long distance, market line transmission and;
2, They depend heavily on the use of dubious multipliers to inflate job and economic projections and convert economic costs to economic benefits.
We need to bring a Jerry Maguire,"Show Me The Money," mentality to the table:
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What jobs? How many? How many Montana workers will get them? What will they pay? Are they permanent or temporary?
What kind of economic benefits will accrue to Montana with transmission development that wouldn't without it?
How many investment dollars will stay in Montana? How many businesses, farm and ranch operations will be hurt and jobs lost in areas impacted by transmission development?
Using the "promise" of economic development and jobs to justify corporate eminent domain? Not my Montana.
Montana Public Service Commissioner
680 Low Bench Road