We are a small economic consulting firm located in Missoula, Montana. Initially started by Thomas Power in the 1970s. Power Economic Consulting has been illuminating all aspects of natural resource protection and development for more than 50 years. Thomas hired his son Donovan, when he finished grad school, to work on a project involving the intersection of geology and economics, and we never looked back. It has been our experience that the extractive industries often present a ‘benefits only’ narrative on the impact that they will have in a local or regional areas. We have been emphasizing, in quantitative ways, that there are always costs associated with the purported benefits of commercial development of natural resources. We work for NGOs, indigenous groups, and concerned citizens and government agencies that would like a more holistic look at proposed extractive projects in residents’ back yards.

We have used our quantitative and qualitative approaches to make sure that the ‘non-market’ benefits or environmental services that we all value and depend upon, like access to a clean and healthy environment, are seriously considered in the evaluation of the commercial development of natural resources. We have a deep understanding of climate science and the application of it, so that we can present the impact of proposed extractive industry projects on the local area as well as the planet. We are fluent in NEPA and largely work within the socio-economic sections of Environmental Impact Statements with respect to NEPA, but appropriately shift our focus to where the economic mistakes are within those large and cumbersome documents. We always strive to present a scientifically defensible and quantitative look at proposed extractive industry projects, so that our clients can present economically and scientifically sound empirical analysis.

With backgrounds in economics and geology, we are ideally suited to make sure that local communities know exactly what the impacts of resource extraction will be. We have worked on timber sales, every kind of metal mine, coal mines, oil and gas wells, federal grazing, large hydro projects, establishing Class I airsheds, imminent domain cases, rate cases before many different Public Service Commissions, coal export ports, multinational pipelines, and the valuation of utility portfolios, to name a few.

Thomas Michael Power

Thomas Michael Power received his PhD in Economics from Princeton University. From 1968 to 2008 he taught in the Economics Department at the University of Montana. From 1978 to 2008 he served as Chairman of the Economics Department. In 2008 he retired from teaching and administration and now serves as a Research Professor and Professor Emeritus.

He is the author of six books, a dozen and a half book chapters, and numerous articles and reports in the field of Natural Resource and Regional Economics and the relationship between those two fields. He has regularly testified before state and federal regulatory agencies.

(Full Vita here .pdf 75kb)

Donovan Spear Power

Donovan jumping for joy in Glacier National Park

Donovan Power received his BS in Geology from the University of Montana and his MS in Geology from the University of Washington. He did his Master’s Thesis on the movement of the West Antarctic ice sheet. His recent work has focused on economic geology, climate change, mineral development technology, and renewable energy development. He has been the principle scientist at Power Consulting since 2008 and the President for the last few years.

Donovan is also the Director of the Missoula Freestyle Ski Team in his hometown (Missoula). With this illustrious position comes the responsibility to ski every powder day that we have. If you are a prospective client, worry not! It really doesn’t snow enough to impact our work and the clean mountain air helps me think up amazing scientific strategies.