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coal

Trump Administration Finalizes Coal Plant Pollution Rollback

Aug 31, 2020
Coal ash waste at the Colstrip power plant.
Courtesy Alexis Bonogofsky - Montana Environmental Information Center

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration on Monday finalized its weakening of an Obama-era rule aimed at reducing pollution from coal-burning power plants that has contaminated streams, lakes and underground aquifers

The change will allow utilities to use cheaper technologies and take longer to comply with pollution reduction guidelines that are less stringent than what the agency originally adopted in 2015.

Environmental groups on Aug. 27 sued the Trump Administration for allegedly breaking federal law when it finalized management plans for coal rich land in eastern Montana and northern Wyoming.

The environmental groups in their lawsuit say the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to explore alternatives to strip mining or the impacts of fossil fuel combustion when it approved management plans covering the Powder River Basin.

A pile of coal.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

The expansion of a British Columbia coal mine upstream of Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River will undergo review from the federal Canadian government. The decision handed down Wednesday will apply more scrutiny to the project.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Montana's largest coal-fired power plant has begun demolishing equipment as part of a partial closure.

The Colstrip Power Plant started dismantling its Unit 1 and 2 cooling towers in July, the Billings Gazette reported Wednesday.

The Spring Creek Mine near Decker, Montana
Google maps

A coal company plans to rehire 73 employees who've been out of work at a Montana mine since April. The workers will be able to return to Spring Creek Mine on Aug. 3, according to a Monday announcement by the Navajo Transitional Energy Company.

The moratorium on major new coal leases on federal land that the Obama administration announced today, is either long-overdue or the latest offensive in the ongoing war on coal. That depends on whom you ask.
BLM

A judge threw out a lawsuit Friday from a coalition of states, environmental groups and American Indians seeking to revive an Obama-era moratorium against U.S. government coal sales on public lands in the West.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said President Donald Trump's administration had fixed its initial failure to consider the environmental impacts of ending the moratorium.


A federal judge in Montana heard arguments May 13 in a case where environmental advocacy groups say coal leasing under the Trump Administration breaks federal law.

 

This week we are airing conversations with some of the candidates running for Montana governor as the June 2 primary approaches.

Lt. Governor Mike Cooney, a Democrat, has been an elected official in one capacity or another in Montana since the '70s. He spoke with YPR New's Jess Sheldahl this week about his experience in state government, healthcare and his campaign.

 

Montana’s largest electric utility says another company is hedging in on its plan to purchase a greater share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant. 

Courtesy of Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Energy Keepers Inc., owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, has signed a contract to sell hydroelectric power to a Washington state utility.

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