Montana Environmental Information Center

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

Giant Slaughterhouse Proposed near Great Falls

by Anne Hedges

Residents just outside of Great Falls, Montana, believed they were living in an area zoned for agriculture. They thought that meant farms, the usual livestock, agricultural equipment on the dirt roads, and wide-open spaces. They received a rude awakening in October 2017 when they learned that a huge slaughterhouse and rendering plant was proposed in their area. They were shocked to learn that the Cascade County Commission had changed the zoning regulations earlier in the year to allow this type of industrial operation in their agriculturally zoned area. It remains unclear who made the request to the County for the radical change in its zoning rules, as there were no supporters or opponents during the public comment period for the change. However, one thing is certain; people in the area are now very rightfully concerned.

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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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Press Release: Solar Investment in Montana Unlikely in Foreseeable Future if Commission Order Stands

Dozens of solar energy projects and millions in economic investment across the state are on the line

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Bad Actor Rule Must be Enforced

by Jim Jensen

In the aftermath of the Pegasus Gold cyanide heap leach disaster, the Montana Legislature passed a far reaching and forward thinking addition to the State law that governs all metal mining activities in Montana. It is called the “Bad Actor” law, and bans any company, manager, or other executive who left the state with a mess to clean up from getting another mining permit until the taxpayers have been repaid for the work, and at 6% interest, no less.

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What’s Next for the Smith River Mine?

by Derf Johnson

In July 2017, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) declared Tintina Resources’ application for its proposed Black Butte mine on a tributary of the Smith River to be complete. But don’t despair or lose hope.

This recent action is only one step in a long process, and it does not mean that Tintina’s application has been approved. What it does mean is that DEQ believes that it has received all of the information required in order for it to make a decision about the mine’s permit. This step is loosely comparable to turning in your homework but not yet knowing what your grade will be.

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The Beginning of the End for the Colstrip Plant

by Anne Hedges, September 19, 2017

The Colstrip plant will only be “useful” until 2027. That’s according to an agreement filed last week in the Puget Sound Energy (Puget) rate case in Washington. In the agreement, the parties agreed that the Colstrip plant only had 10 years remaining of useful life for Puget. In the utility world, that’s a big deal.  The Washington utilities commission will ultimately decide whether to accept the agreement, but the agreement spells the beginning of the end for the plant.

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DOE’s Grid Study: Clinging to the Past

The following is a re-post of NRDC’s John Moore and Miles Farmer response to the widely anticipated U.S. Department of Energy’s electric grid study that was released on August 23, 2017.

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Sweet Victory: Court sides with MEIC and halts expansion of largest proposed underground coal mine in the country

Once again, the smoke-filled skies across Montana are a dangerous wake-up call that climate change is real and is already harming public health and the economy. It’s long past time to do something about it, and preventing the mining and burning of coal remains the lowest hanging fruit. Coal is the biggest contributor to climate change and coal companies and the government agencies that permit their activities sign death sentences for Montanans and millions of people around the world when they continue to ignore its impacts when issuing permits. That’s why it restores our faith in government when a federal judge forces an agency to do its job and address the problem.

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Montana commission tells solar developers to get lost

[Update: The Billings Gazette has reported that PSC Commissioner Bob Lake was caught on an open microphone stating that the attacks on solar projects described below (extremely short contract lengths and undervaluing solar energy output) were set in a way that would end all solar project development. Lake’s comments came about an hour after these attacks had been finalized, demonstrating the Commission knew it’s ruling would kill solar.]

by Brian Fadie

On June 22nd the Montana Public Service Commission (Commission) went on a crusade to harm affordable solar energy development. Here’s what happened.

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