Count on Coal - Montana

Mission Statement

“Count on Coal Montana is a grassroots organization that seeks to identify, educate and recruit Montanans to support our mission to support Montana coal and all the economic benefits it provides, including increased tax revenue for our state, thousands of jobs and affordable electricity for all.” [Count on Coal Montana, accessed 2018]

Summary

Count on Coal was established by The Montana Group, a public relations and political consulting firm, to protect and advocate for the coal industry in Montana. The group claims that environmentalists are waging a “war on coal,” pushing “job-killing, life-altering extremes.” They opposed the Obama Administration’s moratorium on coal leases, as well as federal efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution caused by coal fired power plants.

Notable Activities & Statements on Public Lands Policy

Count on Coal was Established by The Montana Group, a Public Relations and Political Consulting Firm.

Count on Coal Montana was “Hatched” by The Montana Group, a Public Relations and Political Consulting Firm. [The Mountain Journal, 06/14/18]

  • Chuck Denowh is a spokesperson for Count on Coal Montana. He has worked for The Montana Group since 2006. [The Montana Group, accessed 10/25/18]
  • Shelby DeMars is a spokesperson for Count on Coal Montana. She has worked for The Montana Group since 2009. [The Montana Group, accessed 10/25/18]

Count on Coal Montana Claimed Environmentalists are Waging “a War on Coal” and Favor “Job-Killing, Life-Altering Extremes.”

Count on Coal Montana says environmentalists are waging a “war on coal” and that “the challenge of climate change can be addressed…without ‘the job-killing, life-altering extremes that the environmental groups are calling for.’”  When Arch Coal filed for bankruptcy and suspended its permit application with the state of Montana to establish a coal mine at Otter Creek, Count on Coal spokesperson Shelby DeMars said, “‘we’re finally seeing the results of the war on coal that’s being waged by environmental groups and politicians. Otter Creek would have created 4,400 new jobs for Montanans. It would have been a huge boon to our state economy. We’ve completely lost that as a direct result of the red tape that the permitting process and coal development in general has had to undergo.’” [Montana Public Radio, 03/10/16]

  • “Chuck Denowh of Count on Coal Montana said the challenge of climate change can be addressed by developing technology to further reduce emissions without ‘the job-killing, life-altering extremes that the environmental groups are calling for.’ Denowh continued, ‘Taxpayers have spent tens of billions in developing alternative energy technology […] But even if we continue those expensive subsidies into the future, alternatives have the capacity to supply only a tiny fraction of the energy we derive from coal.’” [Great Falls Tribune, 04/25/14]

Count of Coal Montana Opposed Federal Efforts to Limit Pollution Caused by Coal-Fired Power Plants

Count on Coal Montana Opposed the Federal Moratorium on Coal Leases. Count on Coal Montana spokeswoman Shelby DeMars, in late December 2016, wrote, “this past year was a rough one for the coal industry. In 2016 we saw President Barack Obama’s final push to kill coal before the end of his term. The result was a significant drop in production due to closure of power plants the state had supplied, the loss of hundreds of Montana coal jobs, and a $7.3 million dollar reduction in state coal tax revenues. […] Obama’s anti-coal regulations were estimated to reduce carbon emissions by a meager 1 percent at a cost of billions to our Montana economy and thousands of jobs. [Billings Gazette, 12/26/16]

Count on Coal Montana Opposed Federal Efforts to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions. In September 2014, the Obama administration released a “plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.” [Associated Press, 09/19/14] After the “proposed rule slashing carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent” was announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2014, Count on Coal Montana spokesman Chuck Denowh said, “‘the impact of these regulations will likely force the closure of some coal-fired generators in the United States if they are allowed to go all the way through,’” and they will result in “higher electricity prices” and less coal “‘production in Montana,’” Denowh said. “He called the EPA announcement ‘sobering’ and the group vowed to fight the rule.” [Great Falls Tribune, 06/03/14]

  • After “the Bullock administration…unveiled five options for how Montana can meet proposed federal rules to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions…Count on Coal Montana predicted the options would lead to much higher energy rates for Montana consumers and cost jobs in energy-reliant industries.” Chuck Denowh said, “‘it’s disappointing that Governor Bullock…[embraced] the president’s rule.’” [Billings Gazette, 09/19/14]

Count on Coal Montana Opposed the Stream Protection Rule. In 2017, the Trump administration repealed the Stream Protection Rule, which “was designed to protect waterways from coal mining waste.” This “goal that was entirely unnecessary according to Shelby DeMars of the pro-coal group Count on Coal Montana.” She said, “‘Montana has, bar none, some of the best stream protection, clean air and clean water regulations in place already. That federal rule would have been duplicative and would have hurt coal production in the state of Montana for really, no additional gain.’” [Montana Public Radio, 02/17/17]

Lobbying & Political Contributions

Count on Coal Montana has no reported lobbying activity and no identified political contributions.

Revenue & Expenditures

Count on Coal Montana has not filed any disclosures as a nonprofit or as a political committee.

Count on Coal Montana does not disclose its contributors. [The Mountain Journal, 06/14/18]

Its Montana website, which has been taken down and redirects to the national webpage, noted that Count on Coal Montana was “founded by organizations and companies that recognize the value of coal to Montana. Count on Coal Montana includes concerned Montanans who are standing up for Montana coal and the benefits it provides our state.” [Count on Coal Montana, accessed Summer 2018]