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Montana Dakota Utilities (MDU), a utility that serves customers in eastern Montana, is asking the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) to approve a rate hike for its dirty little coal plant on the banks of the Yellowstone River. MDU’s total proposal would increase Montana consumers’ electric bills by over 13 percent!

If the PSC approves the rate increase, it would help pay for $400 million in futile upgrades to two coal-fired power plants. One of these, the Lewis and Clark Station, in Sidney, Montana, is nearly 60 years old and burns lignite – the dirtiest form of coal. The other plant, Big Stone II, is located in South Dakota and the company is trying to dump millions of dollars in costs onto Montana ratepayers. We need you to contact the PSC TODAY, and ask that they not approve these absurd hikes in MDU customers utility bills.

Instead of wasting ratepayer’s money to cobble together aging coal plants, the utility should be investing that money in renewable resources and energy efficiency. Eastern Montana has some of the best wind resources in the country and the utility should stop throwing ratepayer money down the dirty old coal plant drain.

Contact the Montana Public Service Commission TODAY and ask them not to approve MDU’s proposed rate increase to fund 1958 vintage coal units like the Lewis and Clark Station. Instead, the PSC should encourage the utility to invest that money in new, affordable renewable energy resources.

4 Replies to “Tell the PSC not to Increase Energy Bills for Dirty Old Coal!”

  1. John says:

    Go back to California! Those ugly wind turbines need not scar our beautiful skyline!

    • Seth Page says:

      Maybe you don’t understand what burning more dirty coal means… more dirty coal means more NO, the main cause smog (which will definitely block the beautiful skyline more than some turbines) SO2, which makes acid rain and kills forests, it also generates massive amounts CO2. If you want a beautiful skyline then you need to start thinking about ways to protect the atmosphere and the earth as a whole rather than short term aesthetics.

      • John says:

        Robin Sterret Posted

        I have tried to post this in several newspapers in Montana and have
        had minimal results. The regulations coming at the Coal Fired
        Generation continue to change and Montana and specifically Colstrip seem to be taking the brunt of this.

        CO2 related to a football field

        The real news about CO2 and after some research I found the following about this gas.

        First is a principle about gasses called the Brownian Movement. This
        is where a gas will dissipate equally in a given volume that is
        available to it. If you are in your garage and start up your car, the
        gasses from the car will fill the garage, but this will lower the
        percentage of oxygen for one to maintain life and we all know the
        results of that. On the other hand the volume of atmosphere gasses is
        tremendous and CO2 is very small in the overall atmosphere. Again if
        the amount of CO2 or any other gas were to expand to the point that
        Oxygen percentage decreased we would all have problem breathing.
        If we use a football field as a reference to the amount of gasses in the atmosphere we have the following as a comparison.

        Nitrogen is 78% or 78 yards in a football field.
        Oxygen is 21% or 21 yards
        Argon is 0.9 % or 32.4 inches.
        When you add up all these we get 99.9% (99 yards and 32.4 inches) with all the remaining gasses in the 0.1% (3.6 inches).

        CO2 is overall 0.04% or 1.44 inches and CO2 coming from generation is
        about 4.0% or about 0.0006 inches in the football field. Just for a
        reference the width of a dime is 0.05 inches

        The thing to
        remember here is if there were too much CO2 in the atmosphere then that
        would decrease the amount of Oxygen and we need to have about 21% Oxygen
        to maintain human life. CO2 is absorbed by both land based plants and
        the seas.
        If there were in actually more CO2 added into the
        atmosphere then all the plant life would actually grow faster and
        bigger. There are several things that are not reported in the different
        web sites one would visit while trying to research this topic, which
        are the natural forest fires especially in the west and North West US.
        This year and we have about 500,000 plus acres that have burned up and
        then three years ago we had the same amount in Montana. Another one
        that is not reported is the constant volcanoes that are erupting around
        the world and then there are the 7 Billion people on the earth all
        breathing at the same time.
        It is a little hard to believe that
        coal fired generation, a drop in the bucket, can change the weather when
        we have forest fires and volcanoes producing lots more CO2. But then
        when you look at several of the web sites they proclaim that forest
        fires and volcanoes are part of the natural system and do not include
        them in the mix for CO2.

        Overall the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is minimal but it is an important part of the cycle of life on earth.

        • Seth Page says:

          You’re right in saying that CO2 is exaggerated in it’s effects, but only to a point. Currently the ocean is acting a sink for CO2 and heat. While life may thrive on CO2, an overabundance in the ocean will lead to a boom and bust scenario. It is nearly impossible to determine all possible outcomes of an increase in plankton, but in the short term it would mean blocking off precious light to already endangered coral reefs and a cascading effect that would strip much of the ocean life we hold dear– this isn’t to say the world won’t recover, it would be next to impossible for man to extinguish life on Earth; however, personally I would very much like my children and children to enjoy the beauty of the natural world, not some marred version of it.

          It isn’t that any one thing that man does produces enough carbon dioxide to turn the world into some wasteland, but enough drops in the bucket and it will fill up. I can assure you that all the carbon dioxide produced by man in a single day far exceeds most natural events. The fucking point is that we need to start making efforts to further life on earth without furthering pollution. Rather than putting money towards something that we know for a fact is bad (to what point could be argued until we see the repercussions of our actions) why not put that money into establishing a power grid equipped for alternative forms of energy?

          Additionally, you are entirely ignoring the far more volatile pollutants caused by dirty coal.