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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

State expands list of proposals for federal climate grants

Coal train

State environmental regulators have submitted a list of proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The list and its last minute changes were turned into the federal government late last week.

Right before turning in the plan to the federal government the state expanded proposed projects to include the agriculture and transportation sectors. Those had been absent from the Department of Environmental Quality’s draft plan that was given to the public for comment.

The additions were not published publicly before the federal government’s deadline. Montana’s plan does not include any policy changes or regulatory measures.

According to federal data compiled by state regulators, energy — particularly carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels — is responsible for 65% of the state’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.

The largest emissions reductions would come from proposals to mitigate coal seam fires, and the second largest from improving electric grid technology to move away from fossil fuel burning.

DEQ estimates this would reduce 4 million metric tonnes of emissions by 2030, and 20 million by 2050.

These state plans function like wish lists, outlining everything the state would like to receive federal funds for. With those lists submitted, states and tribes now have until April 1 to apply for specific dollar amounts related to any number of priorities outlined in the plan.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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