Every two years NorthWestern Energy is required to submit a long-term plan to the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) outlining the utility’s 20-year vision for the energy sources it will acquire to meet the needs of its customers’ homes and businesses. The plan is called the “Electricity Supply Resource Procurement Plan” (RPP) and the latest version was released earlier this year.
Do you know what sources of energy power your home and turn on your lights in Montana?
Now you can show and tell the people who make decisions about our energy future what sources you would like to see with a new online tool. PicMyEnergyMix Montana will send a picture of the energy mix you want straight to the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC), showing them what Montanans want as they consider the resource plan for the state’s largest utility.
by Anne Hedges
No doubt the news of the last two weeks has frightened the folks who live in Colstrip. Politicians and climate deniers have spent years giving workers and community members false hope, misleading them, and trying to convince them that if they just support the “correct” political party they can avoid the inevitable change that is occurring across the country and around the globe.
The current change in the energy market is being driven by the rapid decline in the price of natural gas, wind energy, solar energy, and efficiency. It is also driven by concerns about climate change, from the current impacts we are already experiencing, to the predicted impacts on economies, public health, the environment, property, and global stability.
Guest Post: Senator Jon Tester
In the Last Best Place, the Smith River represents one of the best places to float, fish, and camp, and one of the last places you can escape civilization and truly experience Montana as our ancestors did. That 59 mile stretch between Camp Baker and the Eden Bridge is a gateway to the Montana the first settlers and Native Americans lived in. It’s a gateway to our past and a treasured place for our future.
by Anne Hedges
Yesterday, Montana Governor Steve Bullock unveiled a much anticipated Blueprint for Montana’s Energy Future. We continue to disagree with his position on the Clean Power Plan and his argument that choosing between burning coal and climate solutions is a “false choice.” However the vast majority of the blueprint shows leadership and vision. This type of planning is the key to unlocking the potential for 4,000 clean energy jobs across Montana. Montana needs to quickly adapt to a changing energy market. Whether Montanans like it or not, the demand for clean energy is soaring, and Montana is in a perfect position to take advantage of that opportunity.
by Derf Johnson
Seldom visited and population sparse southeastern Montana is one of the more incredible and unique places in the state. It is a land of rolling hills dotted with sandstone faces and spires, and islands of clustered forests separated by a sea of prairie. It has an incredibly rich history and cultural importance to the people who still call it home. It is a vast and harsh country that cannot be truly appreciated until one sets foot in it. A friend once told me: “people don’t fully understand Montana until they become acquainted with eastern Montana.”
by Anne Hedges
The Otter Creek mine is dead. It’s time to admit it and move on. The landscape has so fundamentally changed over the last 6 months for coal generally and the Otter Creek project specifically that it is time to stop throwing good taxpayer money after bad. Up until now DEQ has done a decent job in identifying the deficiencies in Arch Coal’s application to build the largest coal mine in the U.S. But now it’s time for the State to shelve this project. Here are just a few of the reasons the State of Montana should stop paving the way for a coal mine in the Otter Creek valley:
by Anne Hedges
If you buy electricity from NorthWestern Energy you’ve been paying extra to subsidize an unreliable and expensive coal plant. Politicians on both sides of the aisle try to tell us otherwise, but the truth is that Colstrip provides expensive, unreliable power. NorthWestern was hoping no one would notice that fact when it tried to pass on over $8 million in costs to customers for a recent breakdown of the Colstrip plant. Fortunately, the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) prevented NorthWestern from overcharging its customers in this unjustifiable manner.
by Anne Hedges
It’s a good day for water quality, a good day for property rights, and a great day for Montana’s future!
Today, after years of speculation, Arch Coal officially ended its bid to open the largest new coal mine in the United States. The proposed Otter Creek mine would have resulted in the digging and burning of over a billion tons of coal from the Otter Creek Valley. The mine would have resulted in the release of 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when the coal was burned.
Guest Post by Shiloh Hernandez, Western Environmental Law Center
The Montana Board of Environmental Review recently determined that Montana DEQ unlawfully issued a permit to Signal Peak Energy to expand its coal-mining operation by approximately 7000 acres in the Bull Mountains, an area historically and currently used for ranching. The expansion would have given Signal Peak Energy access to approximately 176 million tons of coal reserves.
DEQ’s approval of this expansion was unlawful because, among other reasons, DEQ entirely ignored the impacts of long-term water pollution. As elsewhere in our arid state, water is the lifeblood of the Bull Mountains, and the area’s ranching economy cannot continue without clean, available water.