MTPR

natural gas

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to streamline the process for oil and gas development on federal lands. Zinke signed an order Thursday mandating Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease sales be held in each state on at least a quarterly basis.

Zinke noted during a telephone press conference that under the Obama administration BLM fell far short of that legally-mandated limit.

Greater sage grouse. The Department of Interior announced it's decision today not to recommend endangered species protections for the bird.
USFWS (CC-BY-2)

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said today he is ordering a review of federal efforts to conserve the imperiled sage grouse. Zinke says he wants to ensure that officials in 11 Western states where the bird lives are fully consulted.

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.

Two Medicine River, in the Badger-Two Medicine area.
Courtesy Gene Sentz

A Texas oilman is suing the federal government after they canceled his lease, along with two others, in the Badger Two-Medicine area south of Glacier National Park in Montana.

The area is a sacred site for the Blackfeet Nation.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

The U.S. Interior Department Tuesday canceled the final two oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area between Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Reservation. The undeveloped leases were first issued in the 1980's in an area that is sacred to the Blackfeet Nation.

US Considers Mining Limits In West To Save Sage Grouse

Dec 29, 2016
The Obama administration offered five possible plans Thursday for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (CC-BY-2)

DENVER (AP) — The Obama administration offered five possible plans Thursday for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse, but it isn't saying which it prefers.

The options range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations.

Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Harry Barnes, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and Devon Energy CEO David Hager sign a ceremonial document at the Department of Interior Headquarters in Washington DC, Wednesday morning, as Blackfeet leadership stand behind
U.S. Department of the Interior

The United States Department of the Interior has announced a negotiated settlement with an energy company that cancels 15 of the remaining oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area just east of Glacier National Park. 

Jeff Essmann, chairman of the Montana Republican Party.
Courtesy Montana Legislature

Montana’s Republican leadership says GOP wins here on Election Day are helping advance their long-term plan of tipping the state from at times purple, to completely red.

Republicans swept all of the statewide positions outside of the governor’s office on Election Day, while continuing their majority in the state Legislature. They also maintained their monopoly in the Public Service Commission.

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.

Map of Solenex lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

The federal government says a lawsuit challenging their authority to deny an oil and gas lease in the Badger- Two Medicine area next to Glacier National Park should not go to trial.

NorthWestern Energy has requested an $11 million natural gas rate increase. The rate hike requires the approval of the Montana Public Service Commission.
(PD)

NorthWestern Energy has requested an $11 million natural gas rate increase. The rate hike requires the approval of the Montana Public Service Commission.

Mountain Water Company.
Cherie Trusler

The private company that owns Missoula’s city water system got slapped with a financial penalty today.

Our Capitol reporter has details on that, as well as efforts to change how much renewable energy companies can charge customers. Reporter Corin Cates-Carney followed the action and joins us now to fill us in.

Map of Solenex lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

The legal fight over oil and gas drilling leases near Glacier National Park has drawn the support of a coalition of tribal and conservation leaders. In March, the U.S. Department of Interior canceled a 30-year-old oil and gas lease in the Lewis and Clark National Forest - land also known as the Badger-Two Medicine.

Shortly after the federal government canceled the lease, the former leaseholder, Solenex LLC, challenged the government’s authority to do so.

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.

Renewable Energy Missing From Montana Energy Conference Says NPRC

Mar 29, 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

About 60 people gathered during a wet snowstorm on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn to rally for renewable energy. The event was scheduled to coincide with Senator Steve Daines’ Montana Energy Conference.  

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

The Obama administration has canceled a long disputed oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, a few miles from Glacier National Park.

A few miles outside Glacier National Park in northwest Montana is land known as the Badger-Two Medicine, the ancestral home of the Blackfeet tribe.

But it's also the site of 18 oil and gas development leases, and an energy company is heading to federal court March 10 to fight for the right to drill there after decades of delay.

Blackfeet tribal historian John Murray doesn't want the drilling to begin.

Proposed Rules Target Oil, Gas Waste On Public Lands

Jan 22, 2016
Oil pump.
Dan Boyce

The federal government today proposed new rules to reduce the amount of natural gas released into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands.

Two Medicine River, in the Badger-Two Medicine area.
Courtesy Gene Sentz

Federal officials say they are prepared to cancel a long-suspended oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area near Glacier National park.

On Friday Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack sent a letter to the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, urging her to cancel the 18 remaining leases on the Forest Service land that’s sacred to the Blackfeet people.
(PD)

The head of the U.S. Forest Service now says he believes that all oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest should be cancelled.

On Friday Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack sent a letter to the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, urging her to cancel the 18 remaining leases on the Forest Service land that’s sacred to the Blackfeet people.

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer.
File photo (PD)

Former Governor Brian Schweitzer says Montana is well-positioned to help lead what he believes is the country's inevitable energy revolution.

"We're one of the 31 states that passed a [mandatory] renewable energy portfolio. Electricity that we're using in Montana, more than 15 percent of our portfolio is already from renewables."

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is bullish on the future of energy generation and distribution.

Schweitzer's written a new book titled "Power Up.energy" in which he asserts an energy revolution is underway in the United States. He says our dependence on foreign fossil fuels can and should be replaced within 20 years by natural gas, solar and advanced battery technologies.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

A U.S. District Court judge today gave the federal government until November 23 to decide whether a Louisiana company can drill for oil and gas on National Forest land in the Badger Two-Medicine area adjacent to Glacier National Park.

Oil Crash Raises New Fears About Abandoned Wells

Sep 29, 2015
An abandoned coal bed methane well sits in a pool of water on the outskirts of Gillette, Wyoming.
Stephanie Joyce/Wyoming Public Radio

When energy booms bust, the public is often left responsible for the cleanup. That’s because while most states and the federal government make companies put up at least some money in advance to pay for any mess they leave behind, it’s often not enough.

Greater sage grouse. The Department of Interior announced it's decision today not to recommend endangered species protections for the bird.
USFWS (CC-BY-2)

Governor Steve Bullock says Tuesday’s decision to not recommend endangered species protection for the greater sage grouse is good for both industry and conservationists.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

A federal advisory council that’s been reviewing a decades old proposal to explore for energy in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest issued its recommendation today.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s recommendation says:

Sage Grouse Listing Decision Could Come Next Week

Sep 18, 2015
The Obama administration offered five possible plans Thursday for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (CC-BY-2)

The federal government could announce whether the greater sage grouse will be added to the endangered species list as early as next week.

Members of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation hear comments on proposed drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine area in Choteau, MT Sept. 2, 2015
Corin Cates-Carney

The federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation held a meeting in Choteau Wednesday evening on proposed drilling on U.S. Forest Service land in the Badger-Two Medicine area. The council is trying to understand how and if the exploration for natural gas can comply with the National Historic Preservation Act.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

John Murray, the Blackfeet Tribe’s historic preservation officer says the Badger-Two Medicine is sacred land. As he walks through the tall dry grass here, he refuses to give life to the idea that this land will be disturbed in search of natural gas.

Map of Solenex Lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

Wednesday brings another round in the decades-long fight over whether to allow energy development on U.S. Forest Service land in the Badger-Two Medicine area just south of the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.

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