MTPR

Montana Environmental Information Center

Vice President Mike Pence and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are scheduled to visit a coal mine on the Crow Reservation Friday. The Trump Administration has voiced its support for the coal industry, but spokesmen for the industry and an environmental organization aren’t certain what can be done to help that ailing energy source.

Duane Ankney, the Republican Senator from Colstrip
Mike Albans

The town of Colstrip’s biggest champion in the Legislature walked out of the south entrance of the Capitol building Monday night disappointed.

His proposal aiming to secure the social and economic future of his home town, as parts of the coal-fired power plant there are scheduled to go off line in coming years, failed to pass out of a House committee.

State revenue estimates have grown, but lawmakers are taking a cautious approach. Will the Legislature pass an infrastructure bill this session? A mail-voting hearing turns heated. And Sally and Chuck remember Bob Ream, on this episode of 'Capitol Talk.'

Duane Ankney, the Republican Senator from Colstrip
Mike Albans

Last July, the operators of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant settled a lawsuit with environmental groups, agreeing to shut down the plants two older electricity generators by 2022.

As the community of Colstrip tries to figure out an uncertain future, their Republican Senator Duane Ankney is proposing legislation aiming to provide some security for his town.

Republican Sen. Duane Ankney from Colstrip says the bill isn’t supposed to penalize the companies for leaving, but to help set expectations for when they do.
Mike Albans

The state senator from Colstrip is asking lawmakers in Helena to consider a bill requiring a more detailed cleanup plan for when two coal-fired electric generators in his town shut down.

On Monday, Republican Duane Ankney proposed the first of several bills he is bringing forward this legislative session directed at the future of Colstrip

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

Parts of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip will shut down by 2022. But there’s a chance that the plant’s operators could pull out even sooner, creating an unforeseeable future for the community the power plant employs. Lawmakers in Helena say they have a plan that will help Colstrip stay open for as long as possible.

Groups campaigning for the expansion of renewable energy sources rallied nearly a hundred supporters in front of NorthWestern Energy headquarters in Butte, MT Oct. 10, 2016.
Corin Cates-Carney

  About 100 advocates for renewable energy walked through uptown Butte earlier this week, chanting and thrusting signs in the air. Some protesters kept time on wooden blocks, tambourines and drums, as they walked toward the state headquarters of Montana’s largest utility company, NorthWestern Energy.

The groups 350 Missoula, the Montana Environmental Information Center and Northern Plains Resource Council protested NorthWestern Energy's plan for future electricity supply in front of the utility company's state headquarters in Butte Oct. 10, 2016..
Corin Cates-Carney

Groups campaigning for the expansion of renewable energy sources rallied nearly a hundred supporters in Butte today.

In March of this year NorthWestern Energy released a plan outlining the future of the utility’s electricity supply. Today, the groups 350 Missoula, the Montana Environmental Information Center and Northern Plains Resource Council protested the plan in front of the utility company's state headquarters in Butte.

Groups To Rally For Alternative Energy In Butte

Oct 7, 2016
A 2005 state law requires Montana utilities to buy a total of 75 megawatts of energy from small-scale, locally owned producers of renewable electricity from wind, solar, and hydro sources.
(PD)

On Monday, environmental advocates will protest in front of NorthWestern Energy’s Montana headquarters in Butte. The group 350 Missoula and others say NorthWestern isn’t moving quickly enough towards renewable sources of electricity. The rally is scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. Monday at Emma Park in Butte, followed by speakers from the Montana Environmental Information Center and other groups in front of NorthWestern Energy’s headquarters.

Solar Energy Advocates Ask Feds To Reverse Price Suspension
(PD)

This week, Montana’s Environmental Information Center and solar energy advocates asked federal authorities to reverse a state regulator's decision earlier this year that advocates say is killing clean energy jobs.

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.

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.

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

It’ll take a little longer than expected to settle at least one lawsuit – perhaps two – involving the coal-fired power plants at Colstrip. Two environmental groups argue Colstrip’s pollution control equipment could be inadequate.

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

Tonight on MontanaPBS, producer Beth Saboe takes a look at the uncertain future of the town of Colstrip, as big changes are rocking the coal industry around the world and in Montana. She joins us now to talk about her film, "The Future of Colstrip."

NorthWestern Energy Ordered To Refund Montana Customers $8.2M

Mar 29, 2016
NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana regulators on Tuesday ordered NorthWestern Energy to refund customers $8.24 million that the state's largest power company charged when it had to buy electricity on the open market following a 2013 outage of the Colstrip coal plant.

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

Coal ash ponds have leaked contaminants into ground and surface water surrounding eastern Montana’s Colstrip plant for decades. Three environmental groups have sued the state of Montana for dragging its heels on the clean up effort.

(PD)

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

Montanans React To The Clean Power Plan Ruling

Feb 9, 2016
U.S. Supreme Court
PD

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision late this afternoon to put President Obama’s Clean Power Plan on hold is reverberating across Montana. That plan, written by the Environmental Protection Agency, called on Montana to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 47 percent by 2030, more than any other state.

Montana Conservatives Continue Blasting Clean Power Plan

Jan 18, 2016
Senator Steve Daines addressed a briefing on the federal Clean Power Plan in Billings Monday.
Jackie Yamanaka, Yellowstone Public Radio

Conservatives blasted the federal Clean Power Plan at an event in Billings Monday. It was billed as an "energy briefing," co-hosted by Big Sky Economic Development and Republican Senator Steve Daines. Yellowstone Public Radio's Jackie Yamanaka reports.

Permit Denied For Gateway Pacific Coal Terminal In Washington
Clay Scott

As Montana and dozens of other states sue over the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, some pro-coal Montana lawmakers asked for input from a lawyer with some experience challenging Environmental Protection Agency rules.

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.

Alan Kirk, mine permitting manager, and Bob Jacko, vice president of operations for Tintina show plans for the Black Butte Mine in July 2015.
Steve Jess

An environmental group is raising the alarm because a central Montana mining project is now in the hands of offshore owners — owners who, they say, won’t care about protecting Montana’s environment as much as Montanans do.

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.

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

News reports are saying that President Obama’s Clean Power Plan has set new targets for Montana that are twice as large as those floated last year in a draft of the plan. But the head of Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality, Tom Livers, says it’s still unclear to him what exactly the new thresholds are.

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

The plan the White House unveiled today to reduce carbon dioxide emissions nationwide is meeting with strong and broad criticism in Montana.

Alan Kirk, mine permitting manager, and Bob Jacko, vice president of operations for Tintina show plans for the Black Butte Mine in July 2015.
Steve Jess

About 50 miles east of Helena, in White Sulphur Springs, residents are weighing the benefits that a new copper mine could bring to their community: about 200 new jobs along with millions of dollars to spur business growth. Opponents of the mine say Montana risks losing something even more valuable, one of its last unspoiled rivers.

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.

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