“Momenta” Exposes Next Big Climate Concern – Bigger than Keystone XL

Pacific Palisades, CA – As a much hoped for Presidential veto of the Keystone XL is on the horizon, coal mining in the Powder River Basin may be the next big issue for environmental activists to tackle.

“Momenta” is a documentary which exposes the strip mining operations in the Powder River Basin, how there are plans to increase production and how a more sustainable path is possible.

Located right along the border between Montana and Wyoming, and described as a greater threat to the climate than keystone XL, the Powder River Basin (PRB), contains the two largest coal mines in the world. According to the Center for American Progress, the PRB currently supplies 40 percent of the nation’s coal and accounts for 13 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Even as the demand for coal in the U.S. is on the decline, the rapidly expanding Asian market is getting the attention of the American coal industry. According to the film, a plan is in place to extract 140 million pounds of coal per year from the Powder River Basin and ship it overseas via deep-water ports in Washington and Oregon.

Each day, over fifty mile-and-a-half-long trains, laden with Powder River coal, will travel from Wyoming and Montana, thundering through hundreds of rural towns to ports in the Pacific Northwest. The near-constant stream of escaping coal dust imposes toxic environmental pollutants and a myriad of health risks in the communities through which the trains travel.

“This is a story that needs to be told, and illustrated to give everyone the scale of the problem,” said POW’s Executive Director, Chris Steinkamp. “Momenta tells the story of a region at the center of the global climate issue – do we maintain the destructive status quo or look forward to the future?”

On a global scale, environmental experts warn that the amount of carbon emissions produced by burning the Powder River coal deposit would result in cataclysmic and irreversible impacts on global climate change.

The documentary features interviews with prominent experts and environmental activists in locations already feeling the effects of the coal trains and who stand to be affected by the increased coal impacts throughout the entire length of the coal train route.

The film, presented by SNOCRU, features activist and author Bill McKibben, is narrated by world-renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker, and features Jeremy Jones, professional snowboarder, activist and founder of Protect Our Winters and pro snowboarder, Lucas Debari.

Protect Our Winters is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to engage and mobilize the winter sports community to lead the fight against climate change. After premiering in key markets and on the film festival circuit in 2014, the Momenta is now free to view online.

The goal of the film is to raise awareness on national scale of this immense issue, while also serving as an advocacy tool for the nonprofit partners in these locations to help continue their fight. Ultimately, POW wants to see the closure of the deepwater ports in Longview, WA and Bellingham, WA, which would ultimately force the coal companies to re-think their export strategy.

“That coal has to stay in the ground. You can’t make the math of climate change work if you get the huge coal deposits of the Powder River Basin out and pour them into the atmosphere.” — Bill McKibben, world-renowned author, scholar and environmentalist

“Our members in the Pacific Northwest asked us to get involved,” said Jeremy Jones. “The permitting process for these ports is in full-swing and we’ve got to raise awareness and activate communities now. There are better ways to produce energy and create jobs. And now is the time to transition.”

A DVD of the film with advocacy materials is also being made available to local nonprofits at no cost to aid with their local advocacy efforts.

For more information, or to schedule a screening, you can visit www.momentaproject.com

MOMENTA – Official Trailer from Plus M Productions on Vimeo.

JD Sullivan

JD Sullivan is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Green Action News. He has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism/Mass Communication. JD is passionate about journalism & sustainable living.

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