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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Reps Respond: EPA To Ease Restrictions On Coal Power Emissions

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe
Power plant at Colstrip, MT.

The Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday announced plans to scale back restrictions on coal-fired power plant emissions.

The Trump administration’s “Affordable Clean Energy” rule increases states’ authority to decide how – and how much – to regulate coal power plants.
“I haven’t seen it. I honestly haven’t seen it,” says Sen. Jon Tester.

“Coal is an important part of our energy portfolio," he says. "We just need to figure out how we can burn it without burning the planet up.”

Montana’s Republican Senator, Steve Daines, and lone representative in the U.S. House, Republican Greg Gianforte released statements Tuesday enthusiastically supporting the EPA’s new Affordable Clean Energy Rule.

In an emailed statement from his office, Daines wrote, "Montana would have been devastated by President Obama's overreaching Clean Power Plan. EPA's new Affordable Clean Energy rule will reduce emissions through innovation and incentivizing upgrades, instead of just shutting down coal plants at the expense of Montana's and the nation's families. The new rule gives states and energy producers the flexibility and control they need to reduce emissions while also maintaining and growing high paying energy jobs that will allow Montana and the U.S. to lead in affordable clean energy."

Rep. Gianforte's office sent the following statement from the congressman.

"For eight years, the Obama administration consistently worked to undermine Montana energy and waged a punitive war on Montana coal. The Obama administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan would have raised electricity prices for Montanans, harmed our economy, cost American jobs, and threatened our energy security. I welcome the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule which would replace the burdensome, costly Obama-era mandate with a rule designed to empower states, promote American energy dominance, and protect our environment.”

Environmentalists vow to respond with lawsuits, arguing the federal government is now abdicating its responsibilities under the Clean Air Act.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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