MTPR

Anne Hedges

A Coal Mine in the Powder River basin.
U.S. Geological Survey

The nomination of a new regulator of surface mines in the United States is receiving praise from pro-coal groups in Montana but criticism from environmental groups in the state.

President Trump nominated Steve Gardner Thursday for the position of Director of the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement.

Failed Legislation Means Uncertainty For Colstrip's Future

May 3, 2017
Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

When Montana's 2017 Legislature adjourned on April 28, Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, ended almost right where he began.

At the session's beginning, he helped draw up several bills that would help his community, which is facing the impending closure of two out of four units at its massive coal-fired electrical plant. By the time lawmakers left the Capitol, many of the bills – aimed at easing impacts on jobs, tax revenues and real estate – were dead.

State revenue estimates have grown, but lawmakers are taking a cautious approach. Will the Legislature pass an infrastructure bill this session? A mail-voting hearing turns heated. And Sally and Chuck remember Bob Ream, on this episode of 'Capitol Talk.'

Colstrip power plant, Colstrip Montana.
Flicker User ambib (CC-BY-NC)

The speaker of Montana’s House is hoping to extend the life of the coal-fired power plants in Colstrip by offering their operators loans to keep them running for at least the next five years.

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

Parts of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip will shut down by 2022. But there’s a chance that the plant’s operators could pull out even sooner, creating an unforeseeable future for the community the power plant employs. Lawmakers in Helena say they have a plan that will help Colstrip stay open for as long as possible.

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