Montana Public Radio

coal

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.

Talen Proposes Partial Excavation Of Colstrip Waste Ponds

Sep 22, 2020

The company that operates the Colstrip coal fired power plant is proposing to partially excavate waste ponds that have been contaminating groundwater for decades.

State regulators are now accepting comments on the plan.

Talen Energy’s report explores ways to prevent future groundwater pollution from the Units 1 and 2 coal ash ponds, which are leaking coal ash contaminants like boron and sulfate into groundwater.

The operator of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant submitted its cleanup plan for parts of the plant it shuttered early this year.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality accepted Talen Energy’s remediation plan for the now-defunct Units 1 and 2 and opened up public comment on that report this week.

Sara Edinberg with DEQ says the plan inventories what’s left inside the buildings.

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.

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