In the small city of Colstrip, a one-time “best sports town” in Montana, the football community has become more about political football than the actual sport.
“If you look around these coal mines and this coal plant, it’s the lifeblood of the area,” Jason Small, the head of the local Boilermakers Union, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The only reason there is anything here is the support industry for these big capital projects, other than agriculture.”
There is roughly one park for every hundred people in Colstrip, recreation made possible by the high wages and local tax base that came with coal mining. But none of that matters to the environmentalists looking to wean America off coal. In July, an out of court agreement was reached to close two of the four units of Colstrip’s coal-fired power plant by 2022. The Sierra Club and the Montana Environmental Information Center, which sued the plant in 2013, see the closure as a victory.