climate change

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.

U.S. Department of Energy officials held a briefing with the governor August 31, 2016 on options for carbon capture in expanding the future of Colstrip’s coal-fired plant.
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.


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.