Remarks by Governor Brian Schweitzer at APEC welcome reception
MAY 18, 2011
BIG SKY, MONTANA
GOV. SCHWEITZER: Welcome to Montana. Now, I know each and every one of you have brought one of those plastic cards with you, and I can assure you that all over Montana we are ready to use those plastic cards to entertain you. So stay a few extra days if you can. Now, I'm an earth scientist so in welcoming you to Montana − I want to just tell you a brief history of Montana, and since I am an earth scientist we actually have to start a billion years ago when the entire world was just one body, and Montana was the center of that body.
Well, with a little time our continents have separated and were separated by some water, but over those 500 and 600 and 700 million years, Montana was always flat and covered with water. And every time that water would recede it would leave another trace of another geologic structure, and starting about 100 million years ago, we started capturing planktons in Montana, and beneath the prairie of Montana we have some of the finest oil and gas deposits anywhere on the planet.
Now, as we move forward, you know the first inhabitants of Montana, some believe they came from Asia about 12,000 years ago. Others believe a different story, but if, in fact, the first inhabitants of Montana − and the descendants of them may be some of the native people of Montana − we say to you, welcome home if you've come from Asia.
The first commerce in Montana was 150 years ago when we discovered gold, and then we've found since then copper and platinum, and that's why they call Montana the treasure state.
Now, this is very interesting. As I look in this room right now, I know how important energy is to each and every one of your countries. And listen to this: Montana has the best wind resources on the planet, in addition to our oil and gas. If we were a country − if Montana was a country, we would rate second behind Russia and right in front of the People's Republic of China in our coal reserves.
How important is that to Asia? The number one importer of coal is South Korea; number two is Chinese Taipei; number three is Japan; and number seven is the People's Republic of China. And Montana has the cleanest, least expensive coal in the entire Pacific region. We want to be your partner in success. In addition to our wonderful beef, our wonderful wheat, in Montana we have 990,000 occupants. 11 million people visit Montana every year. Thank you for visiting Montana, and God bless you. Enjoy yourself.
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