Montana Public Radio

Kayla Desroches

Kayla Desroches reports for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed in the city for college, where she hosted a radio show that featured serialized dramas like the Shadow and Suspense. In her pathway to full employment, she interned at WNYC in New York City and KTOO in Juneau, Alaska. She then spent a few years on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where she transitioned from reporter to news director before moving to Montana.

Like many other essential industries in Montana, the state’s energy sector continues the daily grind amid concerns over the COVID-19 illness. YPR News’s Kayla Desroches has been reporting on oil, gas and coal production and she shares her reporting with us now.

A Canadian company’s announcement this week that it plans to move forward with construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline in northern Montana has nearby Native American tribes and some locals concerned that the flow of workers could carry the novel coronavirus into a community with limited health care resources.

Editor's Note April 02, 2020: TC Energy spokesperson Sara Rabern is referring to workers being American when she says they are "local."

A Canadian company says it plans to start construction of the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline running from Canada through the U.S. in April after lining up customers and funding.

TC Energy says it’ll kick off construction on the oil pipeline in Phillips County, Montana while also enforcing social distancing and screening to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Montana’s tribal nations say their first responders and medical professionals are short on equipment needed to protect health care workers from the coronavirus.

Edit March 23: A correction version of this story clarified the judgement of the 2011 case mentioned.

Environmental activist groups representing 16 young Montanans are suing the state in hopes of changing Montana climate policies.

The Indian Health Service is facilitating coronavirus testing in tribal communities across the United States and in Montana. 

Yellowstone County is preparing new rules for restaurants, bars and casinos to open up to the public again following the health department’s weeklong closure ordered earlier this week. It’s still unclear if or when that might happen amid coronavirus concern.

 Edit 3/18: The article has been corrected to reflect the full name of the Montana Environmental Information Center.

Montana utility regulators say they need more information from NorthWestern Energy before considering the company’s request to buy an additional share in the Colstrip coal-fired power plant.

Several counties in Montana announced Monday they’re taking aggressive steps to reduce large gatherings to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The orders come just a day before St. Patrick’s Day celebrations kick off across the state.

This story has been updated to include notifications from Cascade County at 8:30 P.M. 03/16/20.

 

NorthWestern Energy has filed to buy an extra 25 percent of Colstrip Unit 4 from Washington State’s Puget Sound Energy for $1. The Montana Consumer Counsel criticized NorthWestern for the level of information disclosed in the public plan the utility filed with state regulators last month.

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