Momenta producers seeks to raise funding, awareness through Kickstarter
SAN FRANCISCO (June 24, 2013) – A Pacific Northwest coal project is threatening the global environment on a scale greater than the Keystone Pipeline, but most people have never heard of it. Momenta, a documentary collaboration between Plus M Productions (The First 70) and Protect Our Winters, shares the story of the people living along the coal export trail and the project's global environmental implications.
Since American demand for coal is declining, the American coal industry has turned its attention to rapidly expanding Asian markets. The plan is 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.
"The closest way from Montana to Asia is through our backyards and through our ports here in the Northwest," says Power Past Coal Campaign Director Beth Doglio. "If all of the proposals on the table right now get built, the impacts to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions would actually be significantly more than those of the Keystone Pipeline."
Each day, more than 50 mile-and-a-half-long trains, laden with Powder River coal, will travel from Wyoming and Montana through hundreds of small towns to ports in the Pacific Northwest, leaving arsenic and mercury laden coal dust in their wake. The near-constant stream of escaping coal dust imposes toxic environmental pollutants and a myriad of health risks to pass-through communities.
"Unless you live there, you just can't imagine the hugeness of the Powder River Basin and what 50 coal trains a day is like – it's something that needs to be visually illustrated to gain broader awareness and take serious action. Because of that, we just felt that a documentary, followed by a strong grassroots effort was the best approach," said Chris Steinkamp, executive director, Protect Our Winters.
And those are the domestic impacts. 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.
About the documentary
The documentary features interviews with prominent experts and environmental activists, including Bill McKibben, the nation's leading environmentalist; and Jeremy Jones, professional snowboarder, activist and founder of Protect Our Winters.
Through thoughtful interviewing and breathtaking cinematography, the documentary unveils the coal project's devastating potential. The project will be followed by a strong grassroots effort to engage the community to take action against the proposed construction of the export terminals.
"Our documentary has a moving target. New coal ports can be proposed at any time," says Director Andy Miller. "We truly don't know what the outcome will be, but we knew we wanted to raise awareness and activate communities to stop proposed coal exports in the Pacific Northwest. There are better ways to produce energy. And now is the time to transition."
Plus M Productions and Protect Our Winters contributed the initial funding for the Momenta trailer, which can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/65533675. However, they're looking to the community to raise the remaining funds for the full-length documentary.
The Momenta Kickstarter launches today, June 10, with the goal of raising $65,000 within 30 days.
Producers plan for filming to take place for two weeks in August 2013 with a release at the end of September.
Momenta Project Website:
About Plus M Productions:
Plus M Productions is a San Francisco based video production company that produces socially-minded documentary films and video content for a range of clients, from local non-profits to international companies.
About Protect Our Winters:
Protect Our Winters is a non-profit dedicated to engaging the winter sports community to lead the fight against climate change. The organization's focus is on educational initiatives, activism and the support of community-based projects. More information at: www.protectourwinters.org.