Montana’s largest private utility, NorthWestern Energy, recently released a benefit-cost study of distributed solar (i.e. rooftop solar) on its grid. The study was meant to clarify key questions about these solar systems, however initial review reveals that the findings appear questionable and its work will need to be checked for validity. Until this can be done, the study’s findings remain in doubt. Read More →
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2018 Read More →
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.
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.
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
Good Intentions, But Not Supportable
by Brian Fadie
Initiative I-184 has been filed with the Montana Secretary of State and approved for signature gathering. The initiative seeks to make numerous reforms to Montana energy law and while its intent is appreciated, there are multiple serious policy and strategy flaws that make it ill advised to support.
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.
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.
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.