Greenpeace airship in Montana: “Coal exports fuel climate change, Keep our coal in the ground”

July 25, 2014

Billings, Montana - Greenpeace flew its thermal airship in Billings Montana today to highlight the risks of coal exports and mining in the Western United States, with large banners reading "Coal exports fuel climate change" and "Keep our coal in the ground."

Airship In Montana Balloon Rally

Coal mining companies like Ambre Energy, Arch Coal, Cloud Peak Energy, and Peabody are trying to boost exports of publicly owned coal in Montana and Wyoming to Asia, which would mean more carbon pollution and disruption to the environment and communities in the Western United States. A report released yesterday by the Sightline Institute, “Unfair Market Value: By Ignoring Exports, BLM Underprices Federal Coal,” details the specific mines and companies that are taking advantage of the federal coal leasing program to increase exports of publicly owned coal. The report includes several coal mines in Montana such as the Decker, Signal Peak, and Spring Creek mines.

“Climate change is already disrupting our communities, from record droughts to increased wildfires, and more coal will only make it worse whether it is burned in Montana or Beijing,” said Greenpeace Energy Campaign Director Kelly Mitchell, “Instead of giving away our coal for one dollar a ton, Interior Secretary Jewell should establish a moratorium on new coal leases and pursue comprehensive reform of the federal coal leasing program.”

Despite concerns about the federal coal leasing program, the Bureau of Land Management plans to sell eight million tons of coal in Colorado next week with the Spruce Stomp coal lease. Bowie Resource Partners, the company that applied for this coal, is openly planning to export it, as the Sightline Institute report details.

The Greenpeace airship flew alongside several hot air balloons during the Magic City Hot Air Balloon Rally, held this weekend in Billings Montana. It is the only aircraft of its kind in the United States, achieving lift with hot air like a balloon, but also capable of directional flight. More information about the Greenpeace thermal airship is available at:

Photos available at

Contact: Joe Smyth, Greenpeace Communications, 831-566-5647, [email protected]

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