An open letter of thanks to Corey Stapleton for traveling back in time to try to save the Otter Creek coal mine

Dear Corey,

Six days ago you sent me a message from the past. You had traveled back in time to try to save the Otter Creek coal mine from its future, or I guess to be more accurate, the lack thereof.

Your brilliantly crafted email was an argument to encourage the Montana State Land Board to lease the Otter Creek coal tracts.

[Well, we really can’t call it an argument now can we Corey? It was more like you just decided to write down a fleeting thought you had without any real evidence or facts to back you up, but that’s not important now days right? We just say whatever we feel like even if it doesn’t make sense or is an outright lie. But that's not important, the important thing is your unwavering and illogical commitment to the Otter Creek project.]

To be honest Corey, I didn’t think you had it in you.

In the limited spare time you have from your day job as Montana’s Secretary of State spending taxpayer dollars searching for non-existent voter fraud, you managed to somehow build a small time machine in order to travel back in time and try to save an expensive coal mine project that the surrounding community didn’t want and there was no market for.

It's courageous. Really.

From the past, you wrote,

“The Otter Creek coal tracts will bring economic activity of $5 billion to Montana. Billion. Billion. Billion.”

Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion.

[Oops, sorry, I got distracted writing the word billion over and over again for no apparent reason.]

Are you still there? Have you managed to stop natural gas drilling and save the coal markets?

Wow. Corey. I just re-read the email and realized that you didn’t travel back in time. The email was dated March 2018, not March 2008.

I am really disappointed. You’re not the time traveling hero I thought you were.

And, I have to say, there are some sentences that really stuck out to me like,

“The current land board is dinking around.”

[Super weird word choice by the way. You don't help your case by using words like 'dinking', but hey, you do you.]

Correct me if I’m wrong Corey, but the current Land Board is made up of all Republicans besides Governor Bullock. I guess what you are saying is that the Republicans are not doing their job but the Democrats did do their job in 2010 when the Land Board leased the tracts to Arch Coal.

Well, if that’s the way you feel about it, that’s the way you feel about it.

And then you wrote this, which makes me think you really were speaking to me from the past.

“Coal will be America’s primary source of energy for the coming decades. That is a fact.”

I think it’s time someone had this talk with you and it should have happened a long time ago. It’s my fault. I never expected you would make it this far. I guess I should have because when you keep running for different offices over and over again sooner or later you're bound to make it right?

There is a government organization called the U.S. Energy Information Administration, EIA for short. EIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment. They have a website with information on it, where you can do something called research.

If you go to EIA’s website, you can read that coal is not our largest source of energy. In 2016, natural gas was 34% of U.S. electricity generation and coal was 30%. The coal percentage is expected to keep declining over the next couple of decades.

There are so many gems in your email but I have go make hay while the sun is shining so just one more thing.

In your last paragraph you wrote,

“Let’s provide leadership from the Land Board and develop the Otter Creek tracts. The revenue to Montana from this single act will dwarf all other Land Board activities combined.”

I know this might be hard for you to hear so you should probably sit down.

In order for the State of Montana to make new money off the Otter Creek coal tracts, there would have to be someone who wanted to lease them. Arch Coal spent quite a bit of money the first time they were leased and failed pretty spectacularly. There is no coal company with enough capital to invest in a mine and a railroad that no one wants and no one needs.

A coal company would have to have billions of dollars to lease the coal, build the mine and build a railroad. Billions of dollars they don’t have.

Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion. Billion.

[Oops, sorry, I got distracted writing the word billion over and over again for no apparent reason.]

Oh yeah, and they’d have to have someone that wants to buy the coal. It's called a market. And there isn't one.

So keep tilting at windmills man, I’m sure it’s a good use of our taxpayer dollars.



14 Comments on “An open letter of thanks to Corey Stapleton for traveling back in time to try to save the Otter Creek coal mine

  1. Great article Miss Alexis. Thanks for your do diligence..

    • 1/2 way thru i thought i got it.
      But I really got it at the end, with your tribute to your dad.
      (He a decade younger than this dude.)

  2. The ignorance of some of our elected officials is simply staggering. Stapleton has done nothing but continually put his foot in his mouth since he got elected. It is truly unfortunate that the political system is so broken/corrupted that we no longer have intelligent, gifted people being elected into office.

  3. Thanks for the effort Alexis! Lots of snark, which I love! I worry though, that Corey is too dumb to get it. Like spreading pearls before swine.

  4. Time traveling is always fascinating. Why is it Republicans are always going waaaaay back instead of into the future to figure out what we need to avoid? Nice column..

  5. Love it! You have a cousin here in the probably unproductive but way fun art of sarcastic humor. Maybe it’s kind of an Irish thing…

    • Yes, I agree, it’s totally unproductive but fun.

  6. Right On Alexis! As Usual!! Corey never allows facts or truth to dim his ideology or his self-promotion. I didn’t realize Prevarication 101 was taught at Annapolis . . . (Zinke got his at ROTC . . . )

  7. A gem! You know, I believe Cory’s followers are standing tall behind him, just nicely aligned for the future winds of change to level & bury them like the coal beds they are snoozing within. Bring on more of your whimsy until billions if us are entertained!

  8. I too got his “message” and was so embarrassed that any elected official would use the phrase “dinking around.” What a rube.
    I really enjoy your work
    – a friend in Seattle with her heart still in Montana

  9. Can this political party get their mindset out of the 1950’s and earlier? They are stuck back there on many issues.

  10. I like the high snark factor! I am still muttering “the word billion over and over again for no apparent reason” Nice job on research, and great job on schooling young Corey!

  11. Pure, unadulterated, awesomeness! Thank you! I love a good laugh.