Montana Environmental Information Center

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

The Smith River Mine is NOT a Local Project

By Derf Johnson


A mailer sent to Smith River permit applicants by Canada based Tintina Resources.

As Canada based Tintina and Australia based Sandfire ready to submit a permit application for the Smith River mine (As early as November 2015), they’ve dramatically stepped up their public relations and outreach efforts. The companies are attempting to weave a narrative that the project is local. They’ve made some local folks, Jerry Zieg and Nancy Schlepp, the primary spokespeople and front for their efforts. I’m sure the two of them are great folks, but the fact of the matter is that this mine is not a local proposal, no matter how they can try to spin it or manufacture a fiction.

In fact, this project is controlled and backed by people across the world who sit in the board rooms of sky rises and make decisions based upon excel spreadsheets, not out of a storefront in White Sulphur Springs.

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Even When You Win You Lose

MEIC wins lawsuit against coal plant – despite erroneous press reports

By Anne Hedges

Colstrip Power Plant

The Colstrip coal-fired power complex, the largest polluter in Montana.

This week MEIC and other conservation groups prevailed in court. Let me say that another way, we won. But you’d never know it by the press reports. In an odd and unusual twist, the reporter got the story exactly wrong. He wrote that we lost and the owners of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant won. The Colstrip spokesperson said that when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its 2012 rule on haze pollution from power plants, EPA sided with environmentalists. PPL said it challenged that EPA decision and the court ruled for them, and against EPA and environmentalists. In his words, it was a complete victory for Colstrip. Too bad for him that he’s wrong.

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Yellowstone River oil pipeline disasters. Wrong again. Wrong again. Wrong again.

TransCanada, the backers of Keystone XL are making similar promises that they are unlikely to honor.

by Derf Johnson

Most Montanans woke up to the terrible news on Monday that, yet again, an oil pipeline ruptured toxic crude into the Yellowstone River. Initial reports estimated that up to 50,000 gallons of crude oil had been released into the Yellowstone from a pipeline that was last inspected 3 years ago, is allegedly buried 8 feet below the surface, is owned by Bridger Pipeline, and is directly upstream from the City of Glendive.

Almost immediately, officials went on record proclaiming that they were “unaware of any threats to public safety or health.” How they were unaware that there were any threats to public health while at least 50,000 gallons of toxic crude began to float down the Yellowstone, contaminate a major river and a source of drinking water for millions of Americans, and poison aquatic species and wildlife, is beyond me.

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Top 5 Offensive Provisions of the Public Lands Rider

by Anne Hedges

“When you’re willing to compromise your principles you’ve given up. You abandon them. When you compromise nature, nature gets compromised.”

Conservation Pioneer Martin Litton who died on Nov. 30, 2014

These words were prescient of this week’s grand compromise to pass two great pieces of legislation and give the Northern Cheyenne their rightful land. But the cost is far too high, even for these important gains.

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We Know We Are Winning When… the Fossil Fuel Industry Says So

PowerPoint PresentationBy Anne Hedges

Okay, winning might be a stretch – there is no winning with climate change. But the biggest battle-front today involves convincing people, and thereby politicians, that the threat of climate change is real and solutions are necessary and affordable. The clean energy shift will snowball when we can overcome the hurdles thrown up by climate deniers and morally corrupt fossil fuel tycoons (in fact that snowball effect is already happening despite them…but I digress).

So how is industry saying we’re winning? An industry front group conducted a poll that says so. The group, Partnership for a Better Energy Future, is made up of 175 organizations whose names contain words like “coal,” “chamber,” “lignite,” “petroleum,” and “mining.” Shockingly their Montana poll results show Montanans care about climate change.

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All Things Are Connected: Montana’s Terrible Air Quality, Canadian Fires, and Climate Change

By Anne Hedges

Scanned by: Retouched by: DT-MAQC'd by: DT-MALooking out my window I am troubled that Helena’s normally lovely blue skies resemble pea soup and the light filtering through the haze casts an eerie pall. It’s even more troubling that the air in China is even worse. It seems unconscionable that coal companies want to dig up Montana so they can make money selling coal to China where it will be burned, forcing people there to live with choking air quality that is even worse that what we are experiencing in Montana this week. The out-of-sight out-of-mind nature of that proposal is morally indefensible.

Why does Helena’s air resemble China’s on a good day? It might be hard to believe, but over 1,000 miles away, “tornadoes of fire” in Canada’s Northwest Territories are sending up smoke plumes so huge that they are being carried far south to the not-so-big-sky-state.

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Clean Energy Could Create Thousands of Montana Jobs

by Kyla Maki

Bozeman Solar Home by Todd HoitsmaHow many jobs and careers could Montana create if we were to increase renewable energy generation and energy efficiency? – That is the question that a new report by Synapse Energy Economics recently analyzed. MEIC and Sierra Club commissioned Synapse to produce the Montana clean energy jobs report.

The report entitled, Employment Effects of Clean Energy Investments in Montana evaluates job creation potential in energy efficiency, wind energy, rooftop solar, and utility scale solar in Montana over the next 20 years.

Synapse determined the potential for jobs to be created in each of the clean energy sectors. The report considers jobs in both the construction and operation/maintenance (O&M) phases of development (See table 1 below).
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Carbon Pollution Standards: Montana Stands to Benefit

By Derf Johnson

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the carbon pollution standards on Monday, June 2, 2014.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the carbon pollution standards on Monday, June 2, 2014.

Today marks an historic moment for our fight against global warming pollution. The  Clean Air Act has successfully regulated air pollutants such as lead, mercury, and ozone. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding carbon pollution to that list. EPA just released a draft version of the first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. The rule will reduce carbon pollution by 730 million metric tonnes and will have significant public health benefits, as well as important environmental and economic benefits.

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DEQ Needs a Reminder – Multinational Companies like PPL Can’t be Trusted

By Anne Hedges

I recently dug through old files about the Pegasus Gold fiasco at Zortman/Landusky and WR Grace’s Libby disaster. The purpose was to develop a public education campaign comparing previous environmental disasters in Montana with PPL’s leaking Colstrip coal ash ponds. I didn’t expect such eerie similarities. The quote, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it,” had a whole new meaning.
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Who’s Ready to Rally?


Climate Action Rallies Planned Across the State for April 26

On Saturday, April 26, all across the state, people will come together for the Montanans for Climate Solutions Rallies. From Bigfork to Lame Deer and many points in between, Montanans will raise the issue of climate change and pressure officials and businesses to support proactive and positive solutions to the climate crisis.
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