Montana Public Radio

Montana Environmental Information Center

NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

A Montana environmental group is suing the state’s largest utility company and its public regulators. It says they violated a law aimed at developing small renewable energy projects.

The Montana Environmental Information Center claims Montana’s Public Service Commission illegally gave NorthWestern Energy a pass on buying enough energy from what are known as Community Renewable Energy Projects, or CREPs. 

The latest campaign finance reports show that a lot of the $3 million that’s flowed into the race for Montana’s I-186 ballot measure so far has come from organizations and individuals with out of state and international ties. 

Montana could play a significant role in meeting the demand for renewable energy in the Pacific Northwest, according to a new study from the Bonneville Power Administration and the state of Montana.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

A new study funded in part by the coal industry says shutting down of Colstrip’s two newer, larger coal-fired electricity generators in the next decade could have a huge impact statewide.

Colstrip’s two older units, 1 and 2, will shut down no later than July 2022 because of a Clean Air Act lawsuit settlement. But the future of the newer units, 3 and 4, remains uncertain.

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

A federal judge’s ruling last week that requires the government to further consider climate change when planning coal development is getting mixed reactions from coal industry advocates and environmental groups.

Oil well.
(PD)

A U.S. District Court judge Thursday ordered the reinstatement of an oil and gas industry regulation that aims to lower harmful methane emissions. Environmental groups say it’s a win for states including Montana.

Yellowstone River, MT
Wormwould (CC-BY-NC-2)

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is praising a U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows legal challenges to the Obama Administration's Waters of the United States, or WOTUS - rule to continue.

Gavel.
(PD)

Government watchdog groups are challenging the Trump administration in court over its move to suspend methane emission rules for oil and gas production on federal lands.

Solar panels.
(PD)

Environmental groups and renewable energy companies are suing Montana regulators in an attempt to strike down new rules that limit how they can sell solar energy.

Renewable energy advocates say a recent order from the Public Service Commission violates state and federal law and unfairly targets their industry, a notion that state regulators reject.

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.

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