Montana Public Radio


The owners of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant are now required to study how the city of Colstrip will keep its supply of drinking water if the plant ever shuts down.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed that requirement into law Wednesday.

Colstrip relies on the power plant owners to transport drinking water over 30 miles from the Yellowstone River.

Town Mayor John Williams stood in front of the legislature this year to ask for help in securing that flow if the plant closes

“We are very dependent upon that source of water for our town supply.”

A bill that would have allowed Montana’s largest electric utility to recover costs and a rate of return from its customers for coal-fired power generation was tabled in committee Wednesday.

Gov. Gianforte is one of Montana's new cases of COVID. The marijuana bills are now in the Senate's lap. The House votes to abide by the First Amendment. The Republican PSC opposes a Republican Colstrip bill. And the Republican renaissance in Montana owes a lot to the legacy of former Governor Stan Stephens.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

NorthWestern Energy builidng in Butte, MT.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Senate has approved a bill that could pass costs for the Colstrip coal-fired power plant onto NorthWestern Energy customers if the utility buys an added share in the plant.

Senate Bill 379, intended to continue the operating life of the Colstrip power plant, passed on the 27 to 21 vote and now heads to the House for debate.

Lake Koocanusa
Darren Kirby (CC-BY-SA-3)

British Columbia coal mining company Teck Resources has agreed to pay a $60 million fine for polluting rivers upstream of Lake Koocanusa.

The first application period for $10 million in transition funds is now open for workers and communities affected by last year’s closures at two of the Colstrip power plant’s four units.

Lake Koocanusa
Darren Kirby (CC-BY-SA-3)

State environmental regulators Friday approved new standards for a heavy metal in Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River.

Montana Coal Mine Owner Declares Bankruptcy

Dec 4, 2020

The operator of the Decker coal mine in Montana announced bankruptcy and layoffs Dec. 03 due to poor coal market conditions.

Utah based Lighthouse Resources filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the District of Delaware Thursday.

For years, Montana’s political leaders have been advocating for technology that traps carbon at power plants and other industrial sites. So far, carbon capture has seen a slow start. The two candidates facing off for a Montana U.S. Senate seat in the upcoming November election recently highlighted their carbon capture initiatives.

The Kootenai River near Libby, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana environmental regulators took the first step last week to tighten pollution rules for toxins flowing into Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River. The new rules are aimed at stemming pollution coming from British Columbia coal mines.