MTPR

climate change

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell talks with Dan Fagre of the USGS about climate change in Glacier National Park during the centennial celebration of the National Park Service, August 25, 2016.
Nicky Ouellet

Today is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. To celebrate, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell visited Glacier National Park this morning. MTPR's Nicky Ouellet caught up with her and her entourage at Logan Pass.

Climate change was the focus of Secretary Jewell’s visit to Glacier, a focus strongly emphasized by Park Superintendent Jeff Mow.

Coal with the town of Colstrip in the background
Amy Martin

What is going to happen to Colstrip? That was the question Thursday as state legislators questioned companies that agreed to shut down two of the four coal-burning units of the Colstrip electricity plant.

U.S. officials approved a 117 million-ton expansion of a Montana coal mine after concluding that burning the fuel would have a minor impact on the nation's overall greenhouse gas emissions, according to documents released Thursday.
Courtesy USDA NRCS

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Monday denied the permit for the Gateway Pacific terminal in Washington state. That's bad news for the Crow Tribe, which was hoping the port would allow them to open a new mine on the reservation and ship tens of millions of dollars worth of coal overseas.

Climate Activists Debate Over Tactics

May 3, 2016
About 60 people gathered on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn to promote renewable energy. The March 29, 2016 rally was sponsored by the Northern Plains Resource Council.
Jackie Yamanaka - Yellowstone Public Radio

The debate about whether or not humans are warming the planet is essentially over – 97 percent of climate scientists agree that we are. But the debate over tactics, about how to reduce our carbon emissions, is just starting to heat up.

Grizzly Bear advocate Doug Peacock penned the letter asking President Obama to retain endangered species protections for Yellowstone-area grizzlies.
Eric Whitney

Jane Goodall and other prominent wildlife biologists have signed onto a letter asking President Obama to retain endangered species act protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears.

Government data from 2012 through 2014 shows worsening air quality in many Montana counties including: Flathead, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Missoula, Ravalli and Richland Counties.
Josh Burnham

The American Lung Association says among America’s cities, Missoula’s air is the tenth dirtiest. That’s for a specific form of pollution.

A chart on display at the public meeting on grizzly delisting in Bozeman Tuesday.
Eric Whitney

In Bozeman Tuesday, more than 200 people came to a public hearing and information session on delisting Yellowstone area grizzly bears.

In Montana, wolverines reside mostly within the Crown of the Continent ecosystem.
Andrew Gainer (CC-BY-NC-2)

A federal judge has ruled that the Obama administration brushed over the threat of climate change when it failed to list wolverines as an endangered species. The decision could impact other dwindling species.

Windmill at the Judith Gap wind farm.
David J. Laporte (CC-BY-2)

A majority of Montanans think climate change is a very serious concern for the state. That’s according to a poll commissioned by the University of Montana and Stanford University. UM Political Science Professor Christopher Muste helped conduct the survey.

Montana Legislative Panel Suspends Work On Clean Power Plan

Feb 17, 2016
Colstrip power plant, Montana
Flicker User ambib (CC-BY-NC)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana legislative subcommittee has halted its work on tracking the federal Clean Power Plan. The move follows last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision that put the plan on hold.

(PD)

Tuesday’s Supreme Court vote to temporarily block the Obama Administration's climate change regulations is receiving praise and criticism in Montana.

Supreme Court Puts Clean Power Plan On Hold

Feb 9, 2016
Colstrip power plant as seen in the early 1980s.
David T. Hanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to halt enforcement of President Barack Obama's sweeping plan to address climate change until after legal challenges are resolved.

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

The future of Montana's Colstrip power plant is very much in the news lately. The Clean Power Plan rules announced by the Obama administration in August called for Montana to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants more than any other state. And the utilities in West Coast states that own most of Colstrip face growing political pressure to stop buying coal-fired electricity from Montana. That makes for an uncertain future for the nearly 800 members of the Montana AFI-CIO unions who work in the Colstrip area.

Sen. Duane Ankney (R) SD20
Montana Legislature

On Wednesday four Montana state senators testified before a legislative committee in Washington state. They said that even a partial closure of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant that supplies electricity to Washington would raise power rates in both states and cause big job losses in Montana.

Gov. Steve Bullock (file photo)
Josh Burnham

Governor Steve Bullock reacted strongly to the news from the White House today that it’s issuing a moratorium on new coal leases on federal land. The Interior Department says the pause is necessary to give it a chance to evaluate whether lease rates are fair to taxpayers, and their environmental impacts. Bullock issued this statement:

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

Today, some Montana lawmakers said that the state legislature needs to get more involved in the fight against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

President Donald Trump Thursday ended a key Obama-era coal mining regulation designed to protect waterways from coal mining waste.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

Washington and Oregon are considering cutting ties with Montana coal.

Wednesday, Montana’s Environmental Quality Council spoke with legislators from the West Coast states who are drafting bills that could shut down at least part of the coal plant in Colstrip.

Steve Bullock Duane Ankney in Colstrip 1.5.16
Jackie Yamanaka, Yellowstone Public Radio

Environmentalists are expressing disappointment in the new Clean Power Plan Advisory Council that Governor Steve Bullock announced today.

The 27-member body includes 17 people either directly tied to the coal-fired energy sector or supportive of it.

(PD)

Governor Steve Bullock will announce his appointments to a new advisory council on how Montana should respond to new EPA carbon dioxide rules Tuesday. President Obama calls them his “Clean Power Plan.”

Fire forced the closure of Going-to-the-Sun Road from St. Mary to Big Bend this summer.
Corin Cates-Carney

A new study predicts climate change could threaten some 11,000 Montana jobs and almost $300 million in outdoor labor earnings by 2050.

Bull trout
Joel Sartore/National Geographic, and Wade Fredenberg/USFWS

In the beginning, the idea of global warming was easy for me to ignore. Of course I found the footage of floating polar bears distressing, but the ice caps seemed far away, and scientists seemed even farther from any real answers.

Patrick Barkey, Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research
Courtesy UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Last week a study of what could happen to Montana’s economy under President Obama’s Clean Power Plan came out of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Opponents of the carbon dioxide reduction plan say it proves dire consequences. Backers of the plan say the study merely reached the predetermined conclusion of the utility company that sponsored it.

Patrick Barkey, author of the study and director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research joined us for an interview about it.

Colstrip power plant as seen in the early 1980s.
David T. Hanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

A study released Wednesday says that complying with President Obama's Clean Power Plan will cost Montana more than 7,000 jobs and more than $2 billion in wages and sales. Those numbers were quickly trumpeted by Montana elected officials who oppose the nationwide plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, including Attorney General Tim Fox, who has joined Montana to a multi-state lawsuit to halt the plan.

A University of Montana study funded by the state’s largest electric utility predicts dire economic consequences to the state because of the president’s plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The study is drawing sharp criticism from advocates of alternative energy.

Clinton Releases $30 Billion Plan To Help Coal Country

Nov 16, 2015
President Donald Trump Thursday ended a key Obama-era coal mining regulation designed to protect waterways from coal mining waste.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

Hillary Clinton has just released a $30 billion plan to help coal country. But Inside Energy’s Emily Guerin reports Republicans aren’t buying it, given Clinton's support of President Obama’s climate policies.

Power line
(PD)

Governor Steve Bullock has responded to President Obama’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

That plan asks Montana to reduce its emissions by 47 percent, that’s more than any other state. Bullock now says he’s appointing an advisory panel to draft Montana’s plan.

Sen. Steve Daines.
Courtesy photo

If you’re a U.S. Senator from Montana, the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that the White House is calling for is either a misguided war on working Montanans, or a reasonable starting point for a discussion of fighting climate change.

Colstrip power plant as seen in the early 1980s.
David T. Hanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

Things have changed a lot since January, when it comes to Montana's response to groups in Washington state that could shut down parts or all of the Colstrip coal-fired electricity plant southeast of Billings.

Montana State Senator Duane Ankney joined other Montana and Washington policymakers to discuss the future of the Colstrip power plant.
Eric Whitney

About a dozen Montanans were in Spokane Wednesday to talk to Washington state lawmakers about legislation that would impact the Colstrip coal-fired power plant southeast of Billings.

(PD)

A group of Montana parents says lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” are shortsighted and dangerous.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has joined 23 other states suing to stop the plan, which calls for Montana to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 47 percent by 2030.

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