Q2 reports that leaders from Montana’s fossil fuel industry met with Congressman Greg Gianforte Thursday in Billings to discuss the future of the industry and help navigate federal regulations.

The discussion focused on what changes can be made to federal permitting at a round table discussion which featured representatives of coal and oil and gas companies. They also discussed cutting back on so-called unnecessary regulation by the federal government. Todd O’Hair of Cloud Peak Energy said they have to plan 10-to-15 years in advance because of the time it takes for permits to go through, while permitting costs more on federal lands.

Tom Hauptman, an independent oil and gas producer, said [quote] “We’re asking for a lifeline, not a handout,” [end quote] The coal industry has faced stiff opposition from environmental groups, and stiff competition from cheaper natural gas.

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