MTPR

air pollution

Extremely unhealthy air has prompted the health department to recommend that people should leave Seeley Lake, or at least try to sleep somewhere else. This view of the smoke from Seeley Lake was captured on the afternoon of August 10, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Wednesday, Missoula County's health department made the unprecedented recommendation that an entire town, Seeley Lake, evacuate because of pollution from wildfire smoke. Eric Whitney has more on where that recommendation came from, and how it's being received.

Methane flaring.
WildEarth Guardians (CC-BY-ND-ND-2)

The U.S. Senate could not muster enough votes Wednesday to undo rules designed to reduce methane pollution.

Senators voted 51-49 Wednesday against an attempt to eliminate an Obama-era rule to limit methane emissions from oil and gas production facilities on federal and tribal lands.

The Colstrip Power Plant consists of four separate coal-fired generating units, collectively owned by Puget Sound Energy, Talen Energy, Avista Corporation, PacifiCorp and NorthWestern Energy.
Beth Saboe

By July 1, 2022, Units 1 and 2 of the coal-fired plant in Colstrip will close. The plant's owners agreed to do so to settle a lawsuit with environmental groups. The settlement was announced today.

EPA: Billings Now Meets Federal Air Pollution Standards

May 3, 2016
Governor Steve Bullock, D-MT, announcing Billings is the first area in the country to be re-designated as meeting federal air quality standards for SO2. Behind Bullock is John Felton of Riverstone Health and Jeff Walters of the Billings Chamber of Commerc
Jackie Yamanka - Yellowstone Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Billings is now in compliance with federal air pollution standards. Gov. Steve Bullock says this is the first time EPA has reversed a “non-attainment” designation.

Why Energy's Dirty Air Pollution Costs Are Dropping

Mar 31, 2016
(PD)

We often hear about the economic costs of environmental regulation on the energy industry. But there’s a flipside to that equation — the price society pays for pollution. One scientist has added up those costs — and found they’re going down. For Inside Energy, the Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier went to find out why.

Otter Creek Coal Mine Plans Suspended

Mar 10, 2016
Feds Dismiss Tongue River Railroad Permit
(PD)

Arch Coal company is suspending plans to develop a major coal mine in southeast Montana.

The moratorium on major new coal leases on federal land that the Obama administration announced today, is either long-overdue or the latest offensive in the ongoing war on coal. That depends on whom you ask.
BLM

Montana coal advocates are hailing the Supreme Court's ruling against the Obama administration's attempt to limit toxic emissions from power plants.

The justices ruled the Environmental Protection Agency failed to adequately consider costs when regulating emissions from coal and oil-fired plants.

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Flicker User ambib (CC-BY-NC)

A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down a rule meant to reduce haze from coal burned in Montana.

Environmentalists were critical that rule wasn’t strong enough and hope it will be revised and strengthened. Meanwhile, the coal industry is calling the ruling a victory.

Gov. Bullock Signs Tax Breaks For Pollution Control Equipment

May 14, 2015
Rep. Mike Miller and Governor Steve Bullock at a ceremonial bill signing for House Bill 156, tax cuts for pollution control equipment, at the Billings-area Chamber of Commerce.
Jackie Yamanaka - Yellowstone Public Radio

A tax cut for industry to install pollution control and carbon sequestration equipment is good for industry, jobs, and public health.

That’s the message from Governor Steve Bullock during a ceremonial bill signing Wednesday in Billings.

Can Spider Webs Reveal Air Pollution?

Mar 16, 2015
Flickr user, PermaCultured

"Classic spiral spider webs are made by orb-weaving spiders which weave them deadly traps for flying insects. But orb spider webs are also electrostatically charged, making them perfect for capturing not only prey but pollen and other small pollutants, indicators of an environment's health.

Green-Washing Coal Mining And Coal Exports

Aug 27, 2014

The Oregon Department of State Lands recently denied a permit to Ambre Energy for its proposed coal shipping port on the Columbia River at Boardman. That proposed Morrow Pacific coal port is the smallest of the three coal ports still under consideration in the Pacific Northwest to move Powder River Basin coal from Montana and Wyoming to Asian markets.