Montana Environmental Information Center

Clean and healthful. It's your right, our mission.

Help Stop the Dirty Power Scam

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Comment on disclosure of dangerous chemicals

Contact the BOGC

This petition is now closed.

End date: Sep 25, 2018

Signatures collected: 104

104 signatures

The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, continues to threaten Montana’s air and water.  The chemicals used in the process of fracking for oil and gas can harm ground and surface water quality.

Fortunately, the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (BOGC) has recently initiated a rule-making process that will help to protect water quality and the landowners living next to oil and gas fields. We need you to take action by sending a comment to the BOGC on the rules.

The proposed rule makes some very important changes that will help to protect water quality and adjacent landowners. Most importantly, it revamps the trade secret provisions. Currently companies can claim a trade secret exemption (meaning that there will be no disclosure of the chemicals that are being used in the process) on fracking chemicals, without any evidence or justification. In fact, there is no independent review or analysis of claimed trade secret exemptions to verify their legitimacy. If the proposed rule is adopted, companies would have to submit detailed information to the BOGC to provide justification for the exemption.

As helpful as the proposed rule is, it lacks some very important protections. Most significantly, it does not provide for reasonable notification to adjacent landowners so that they may have their water tested in advance of fracking activities, in order to acquire baseline information. Without that information, there is no way for them to know whether fracking operations have impacted their water quality.

If you’re concerned about public health and water quality in Montana, MEIC urges you to submit comments to the BOGC on the proposed rule. If you want to comment directly, email [email protected].

If you would like to comment in-person you can attend a hearing on September 17th  at 2:00 PM in Billings at the BOGC office (2535 St. Johns Avenue). For more information, please contact Derf Johnson at [email protected].

Tell NorthWestern Energy: Protect Customers and Invest in Clean Energy

Tell NorthWestern Energy: Protect Customers and Invest in Clean Energy

To: Bob Rowe, President and CEO, NorthWestern Energy

As NorthWestern Energy prepares for its upcoming electric rate case, and the creation of its next Resource Procurement Plan, I urge you to prepare for:

• The inevitable closure of the Colstrip Generating Station;
• Aiding clean-up and transition of the Colstrip community; and
• Meeting NorthWestern’s future energy needs with clean energy and energy efficiency.

Puget Sound Energy, a co-owner of Colstrip Units 3 & 4, intends to fully depreciate its investment in the plant by 2027. Co-owner Avista is adopting the same schedule. NorthWestern should also depreciate (aka write off) its investment in Colstrip by 2027, to protect its customers from having to pay for a shuttered facility that generates no electricity. In addition, NorthWestern should contribute, as other utilities have done, to a clean-up plan for the plant, and provide transition funding for the Colstrip community and the plant’s workers.




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Every two years, Montana’s largest private utility NorthWestern Energy is required to produce a Resource Procurement Plan—a blueprint for how to meet expected energy demand over the next 20 years. This plan helps guide the utility, as well as its regulators at the Public Service Commission and other stakeholders, on what to do when important decisions need to be made, such as what kind of power plants to build and when.

NorthWestern’s next Resource Procurement Plan is due in December 2018.

Sign the petition today asking NorthWestern to protect its customers from coal risks and to invest in clean energy!

The 2018 Resource Procurement Plan

In the 2018 plan, NorthWestern needs to prepare for the closure of Colstrip by 2027 or earlier.

NorthWestern owns a 30% share of Colstrip Unit 4. Currently, every other owner of Unit 4 has either agreed, proposed, or is required by law to pay off their outstanding Colstrip debt (aka “depreciate”) by 2027 or 2030, meaning they will be financially ready to close the plant by that time. In contrast, NorthWestern’s depreciation schedule is 2042. If Colstrip closes before NorthWestern has paid off its share of the plant, customers will be stuck paying for a power plant that is not producing electricity. This makes it extremely important that as NorthWestern plans for the future, it protect its customers by depreciating its outstanding Colstrip debt by 2027.

Therefore, in the 2018 Resource Procurement Plan, NorthWestern should prepare for this eventuality by modeling a scenario in which Colstrip closes by 2027.





What Should NorthWestern Do?

In the 2018 plan – and in future regulatory processes like the coming electric rate case – NorthWestern needs to protect its customers by preparing for Colstrip’s closure, including:

  • Modeling a 2027 closure date for Colstrip in the 2018 resource plan.
  • Planning to meet future energy needs with clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Depreciating NorthWestern’s ownership of Colstrip by 2027 to protect customers just as other Colstrip owners have done.
  • Set aside money to clean up polluted groundwater and help community transition in Colstrip just as other Colstrip owners have done.

 Renewable Energy is Extremely Cost Competitive for NorthWestern Customers

Renewable energy such as wind and solar are the cheapest, cleanest, and least-risk generation options for the utility to meet its future electricity demand. In fact, the South Peak and Judith Gap wind facilities are the two cheapest power plants for NorthWestern customers. In contrast, coal-fired electricity from Colstrip is one of the most expensive sources of electricity for NorthWestern customers.




Protect Our Public Lands From #1 Toxic Polluter

Don’t let congress silence public review of mining

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Alert: Keystone XL being fast-tracked

Contact the State Department



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The Trump administration’s attack on our environment is like a nightmare you can’t wake up from, and they are at it again. This time Trump is trying to skirt important environmental analyses that protect our waterways, including the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, as well as communities and our climate from the threat of the Keystone XL pipeline. The State Department is taking public comments on this project as part of an attempt to fast-track the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. In doing so, it is taking a shortcut around the environmental review that we need in order to protect water, agriculture, wildlife, communities, and our climate. Will you stand with us against this dangerous project?

A portion of this pipeline will cross through eastern Montana, placing Montana communities, farms and ranches, and our cherished rivers at risk. The pipeline is proposed to cross both the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. Too much is at stake. We need urgent and immediate action today to stop this proposal in its tracks. Please join us in opposing any attempt to avoid conducting a full environmental review of Keystone XL.

Climate scientist James Hansen has said that if Canada is able to develop its tar sands oil reserves, it will be “game over” for the climate. What’s more, do we want another Yellowstone River oil spill disaster? We now know, based upon previous tar sands pipeline disasters, that this type of oil is extremely difficult to clean up.

Please let the State Department know that it must conduct a full environmental review of the project. Keystone XL is a very real danger to clean air, clean water, and the climate.

Help Stop the Fossil Fuel Bonanza in Montana

Coal Mining Companies Want to Mine 215 Million Tons of Coal in Montana, Equivalent to The Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Over 92 million Passenger Vehicles Driven for One Year. Meanwhile, EPA Wants to Deregulate Toxic Coal Ash Disposal for Coal Companies. Coincidence?

We need you to tell Government Agencies to Protect Public Health, Not Polluters

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BIG Opportunity for Climate Action April 18th

For the first time ever, NorthWestern Energy is hosting a public meeting regarding its long-term energy plan (officially called a Resource Procurement Plan). This important plan helps guide the utility when deciding where to get its energy from over the next 20 years. We need you to attend and tell NorthWestern you want more clean energy – not fossil fuels! Read More →

24 Hours to Fight Huge Coal Mine Expansion

Contact OSM

This petition is now closed.

End date: Apr 11, 2018

Signatures collected: 297

297 signatures

The Trump Administration is proposing to expand the Bull Mountain coal mine north of Billings, and has released an environmental assessment (EA). If allowed to move forward, this expansion would result in 176 million additional tons of coal being mined, and make it the largest underground coal mine in the United States. For numerous reasons, the environmental assessment is flawed and does not account for the true cost of coal. We need you to take a few minutes, and contact the Federal Office of Surface Mining, and tell it that the EA must be rejected in its current form, as it doesn’t reflect the myriad problems with this terrible proposal.

Increased coal mining and its subsequent combustion will contribute to the climate crisis. Further, the coal train traffic generated by this proposal will increase air pollution, which will impact the lung health of adults and children in Montana and globally. Currently, clean and renewable energy technology exists that could dramatically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, OSM did not adequately take these facts into consideration.

Please take a few minutes, and tell OSM to reject the EA in its current form.

Citizens Hearing: Speak Out Against Massive Coal Mine Expansion

Thank you everyone who made it out to the Citizens Hearing on February 15th in Missoula. If you were unable to attend and would still like to submit comments please use the following DEQ webform to do so. 

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Give Trump a Piece of Your Mind on Climate Change

The landmark Clean Power Plan requires coal-fired power plants to reduce carbon pollution in order to do our part to solve the climate crisis. Now, the Trump Administration is trying to eliminate the hallmark Obama Era rule on climate change.
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