Coal Questions, Part III

This is the final set of a series of questions about the coal plant that were anonymously emailed to me. (Part 1 and Part II)

40. Where will the $130 million the city must provide come from? … Taxes? New levy? … Municipal bonds?

41. How will it be repaid? … From revenues on power sales? …By SME? … What kind of agreement does the city have with SME for repayment? ..Who made the agreement?

42. Who in city Government will be responsible for committing the city to this project? … Mayor? .. City manager? … City Commissioners? … All of the above? … By unanimous consent? By Majority? .. By what % to carry? ..51%? 2/3?

43. Who in the City Government will be responsible for “overseeing” the city’s interests and operations on a day-to-day basis? City Controller? … City Manager? … Mayor? … City Council? How much time will be required for oversight? Will it be necessary to hire an outside manager to oversee operations? What experience would be required for this individual? How much would he be paid? And, what kind of employment contract would be required for his employment?

44. Who will be responsible for drafting up contracts for this project? City Attorney? … Other? … With experience in these matters? Who? At what cost?

45. What will be the aesthetic impact of the planned location of the plant on the Lewis and Clark Trail? … Is that acceptable to the majority of Great Falls Citizens?

46. What is the environmental impact on the atmosphere of the planned plant with regard to annual pounds of mercury? Emissions? CO2?

47. What will be incorporated in the design of the plant to minimize air-borne emissions and greenhouse gases? Gas washers? Electrostatic precipitators?

48. How will the fly ash be disposed of? Where? …By Whom? … In what quantity? .. By what mode? Rail? Truck? Who supplies equipment, at what cost/ton?

49. Are there any plans the use the fly ash locally to produce cement? Cement blocks? .. Ceiling tile? Or, other building products?

50. Who at BNSF will negotiate the coal contract?

51. Who at the coal company will negotiate contract to supply coal F.O.B. origin?

52. Will the Montana Public Service commission have to approve the project before it can be started? When will the Hearing be held and where?

53. What assurances and from who does the City of Great Falls have the cost per kW will be less than the 8.3 cents/kW that Great Falls consumers are now paying? Who provides these assurances? SME? Consultants?

54. What will the City of Great Falls do if after the plant is completed the cost/kWh is greater than the 8.3 cents consumers are already paying?

55. Will the City continue to buy wholesale power from WAPA? PPL? Bonneville Power? In what amount? … And why?

56. What impact will new Australian owners of NorthWestern Energy have on providing power to the city? … Will they build the generating facility? Have they even been approached about the project? Or “net metering”? … Or wind power?

57. Why shouldn’t a special referendum be held in the city to determine whether citizens of Great Falls support this project?

58. How much of the $515 million capital investment will be spent with Great Falls contractors or suppliers? .. Who? … How much per provider? How many temporary jobs will be created for how long? And, for what payroll?

59. How many new permanent jobs will be created? 50? 60? 65? What will be the total annual payroll for the jobs created?

60. What is the “multiplier factor” or effect for Great Falls (i.e. for every $ of payroll or purchase in the economy) 5:1?, 6:1?, or 7:1?, to be created in the economy?

61. How many construction workers (by trade) will be required to build this plant? How many will be local workers? And, how many workers will have to be brought in, housed and fed for how long?

62. Is there a shortage of these tradesmen in Great Falls?

63. Now that the plant site has been announced what will the city do if BNSF refuses to provide rail equipment or haul the coal from Montana origins at a “reasonable rate”? What will the City do if the coal company (e.g. Peabody) doesn’t have the capacity to load a million tons of additional coal per year into unit trains or has the ability and interest to purchase the equipment to do so? … Or mine more at an increased rate? ...Or if the rail traffic over the coal corridors to the mines on BNSF is already at capacity in trains per day? What is the capacity of trains-per-day of the existing coal corridor route from the mine? ..And at what percent of that capacity is the number of trains currently being operated? Or, if the price per ton of the coal F.O.B. origin is unreasonably high and exceeds economic expectations of the plant provided by consultants?

64. What criteria, qualifications and experience were evaluated for selecting consultants retained by the City for advising the City regarding the power plant? .. How many and who else were interviewed? Why were consultants picked who are also lobbyists? How much is being paid to consultants by the City? Who in the City Government made the recommendations for selection of consultants? Is the Consultant’s report publicly available? From where? How was the decision made and by whom?

And, finally, one of my own: Mr. Lawton, Mr. Gregori, what are the acknowledged downside financial and environmental risks of this project?


Anonymous said...

Geeguy, I hope you'll continue to post about the coal plant. It's about the only truth that seems to be forthcoming. I check your blog almost daily for updates (well, I like the other stuff too!)

Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

.65 Which island will jonny lawton live on once this excrement project hits the rotating cooling device?! Bob gannon (who I'm damn suprised is still alive after scamming Montanans outta millions of retirement dollars), is enjoying his "retirement" in his three million dollar island home in Flathead Lake! Where will jonny boy lawton retire to? For you see, there is no accountability when this thing goes belly up. And it will. So, while jonny becomes another beach boy bobby, we, YOU AND ME will again be left holding the bag of excrement. Why? If jonny lawton is so damn fired sure this plant isn't an economic boondoggle, why doesn't HE co-sign for the damn thing? In other words, let's have some accountability here. You screw up, you pay up. That's all. It's the LEAST we can expect from an unelected official who cancels our right to vote on this monster! And it's true. This site has the best coal plant info available. Great job.

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!