In July, 2011, billionaire Forrest Mars Jr bought a one-third share in the Tongue River Railroad (TRR) coal transportation project. This proposed new railroad has one purpose: connecting the proposed Otter Creek Coal Mine in Southeast Montana to existing rail lines that reach the West Coast. The TRR is a vital part of Big Coal’s larger export scheme, and would make coal mining feasible in vast additional areas in Montana.
The TRR would also cut through some of Montana’s most fertile agricultural land, threatening the area’s ranching industry. Mars bought a stake in the TRR to prevent it crossing his own Diamond Cross Ranch – but the new route still bisects other ranches, and would permanently transform the rural Tongue River Valley into an industrial coal extraction zone. Meanwhile, coal exports would contribute to climate change, further threatening Montana agriculture and communities around the world.
What’s even more ironic is that Forrest Mars, Jr. made his billions from Mars, Inc, a private company owned by the Mars family, which claims to be a leader in social responsibility. Mars made his fortune selling much-loved candy products to children around the world, but now he’s invested in a project that threatens those kids’ future.
It’s time for Forrest Mars Jr and the company where he made his money to wake up, and realize there’s no future in coal. Mars should withdraw his stake in the Tongue River Railroad, and encourage other investors in the project to do the same. This step can stop the Mars family legacy from being tarnished by dirty coal, and ensure a brighter future for the millions of children who eat Mars products every year.
Ready to help send a message from Earth to Mars? Check out these opportunities to take action: