Montana Climate News Summaries

Coal Train Derails on Clark Fork (8/14/2017)

“Cabinet Gorge Reservoir is part of the Clark Fork River that eventually flows into the Columbia River and then, finally, the Pacific Ocean. …  large amounts of coal that had spilled right on the shoreline.”

EPA TalkMontanans discuss effects of EPA cuts (8/14/2017)

“They are described by promoters as an attempt to lift ‘unnecessary regulatory burdens,’ but in effect they constitute a license to pollute,” Jan Hoem of Missoula said Monday. Hoem is past president and current longtime board member of the Missoula City-County Air Quality Advisory Council.

Natural Gas GeneratorMt PSC Sides With NorthWestern Energy (08/21/2017)

“Montana residents who receive natural gas from NorthWestern energy can expect to pay more …
The Montana Public Service Commission approved the increase on Thursday, concluding that rate payers should help cover the costs associated with NorthWestern’s acquisition of several natural gas fields in northern Montana.”

Wind Mills

Hurdles to MT Renewables (07/31/2017)

“Clean energy advocates in the Northwest say the Bonneville Power Administration’s decision to reduce the rate charged on wind energy transmitted from Montana will do little to encourage renewable energy use in the region. ”


Rail SafetyMore Work Needed on Rail Safety (07/5/2017)

“The report also found there’s a lack of statewide emergency planning and hazardous-material response capability should an oil spill occur. It recommended more coordination with local, state and national planners, as well as adding a third inspector to check rail lines, cars and engines.”


Trout looking at antlersMontana Bull Trout Decline (07/2017) Trout Unlimited

From 2009 to 2011 scientists at the University of Montana and U.S. Forest Service re-surveyed portions of the Bitterroot River in Montana and found that bull trout had already abandoned low-elevation habitats with warm temperatures where the species was present in the early 1990s.


CypressCreekMt PSC dramatically cuts solar rates (06/23/2017)

The changes by the PSC make Montana’s incentives the smallest in the region, say renewable energy advocates, who said solar developers would likely move on to other states as a result.

“Montana is going to lose out on the solar revolution. It’s going to go to Idaho and Wyoming and other states,” said Anne Hedges, of the Montana Environmental Information Center.

John EngenEngen joins 292 ‘climate mayors’ (06/12/2017)

Calling it “symbolic but practical,” Missoula Mayor John Engen on Monday signed a letter pledging to work with mayors nationwide to implement the Paris Accord, even as President Donald Trump withdraws the U.S. from the international effort to slow global warming.

The statement has now been signed by 292 mayors representing 60 million Americans. In Montana, the mayor of Bozeman, Carson Taylor, also has signed the statement.

Bozeman MayorBozeman Mayor commits to Paris  Accord (06/06/2017)

“Bozeman’s mayor joined more than 200 other city leaders from across the country in signing a letter pledging to continue trying to limit greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.”


Reinvest Montana Occupies Gilkey (4/26/2017)

“ReInvest Montana staged a sit-in in the lobby of the University of Montana Foundation offices on the second floor of the recently-constructed Gilkey Hall this morning. …
ReInvest decided to take direct action after two years of going through institutional channels with no results, co-president Jess Moore said”

‘Leonard Higgins Necessity’ Strategy

“Higgins doesn’t plan to refute any of this in court. Instead, he plans to enter a so-called necessity defense, arguing that given the responsibility to protect innocent people from the ravages of climate change, he had no choice but to take illegal action.”

solar installNorthWestern Energy Kills Energy Freedom Act (02/24/2017)

“On February 24th, at the request of NorthWestern Energy, the Montana House Energy Committee killed the Solar Jobs and Energy Freedom Act. The bill failed to pass when it received an 8 to 8 tied vote with Representatives Alan Redfield, Derek Skees, Austin Knudsen, Casey Knudsen, Geraldine Custer, James O’Hara, Adam Rosendale, and Daniel Zolnikov voting no.”


300 People at Energy Freedom Rally (02/23/2017)

“The Energy Freedom Rally was aimed at expanding the solar electric industry in Montana.  Under current Montana law, roof-top solar powered systems that are net-metered are capped at 50-kilowatts.  Net-metered systems are still tied to the utility company, so users can get credit for power they generate, benefiting their home or business.”


NorthWestern Energy Income Increase Q4 2016 (02/17/2017)

Bob Rowe said:
“Thank you, Travis and good afternoon, everyone. Thank you all for joining us. I hope your 2017 is off to a very good start. I’ll touch on some of the highlights and then pass the ball off to Brian Bird. 2016 net income improved by 8.6% or $13 million, as compared to 2015 …”



Renewable energy panel discussion at UM

The panel discussion, “Making Renewables Work for Montana,” will include three, 20-minute long sections, followed by a moderated question and answer section between the audience and panelists, according to Leadership Team member Jim Parker.



Evangelizing alternative power with Solar Guy (1/26/2017)

Still, solar growth in Montana has been hobbled by a number of restrictive policies, including a 50-kilowatt cap on the size of solar systems that can be hooked into a meter. Van Wert argues that limit has kept a large number of commercial projects “out of the game” and has hampered the pursuit of community solar projects. Highlighting such roadblocks is, of course, a major focus of the Charge Montana campaign. The opportunity is here, Van Wert says. “Are we going to let it pass by? I don’t think so.”


Senator Jon Tester supports Keystone XL (1/25/2017)

President Trump’s pipeline announcement divides Montanans

Politically, Montana elected officials, regardless of party, have always supported Keystone Pipeline and did so Tuesday, as well.

“I look forward to seeing a Keystone Pipeline that respects private property rights, meets the highest safety standards and uses American materials and labor,” said U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat. “Building the Keystone Pipeline will create good-paying jobs.”

Reed Point Wind Farm (12/24/2016)

“BILLINGS – A wind farm north of Reed Point will sell power to NorthWestern Energy under a new 25-year contract announced last week.
WKN Montana, a Billings-based company, will break ground in late spring on a 25-to-35-turbine Vivaldi Springtime Wind Project in the hills north of Reed Point. The project is expected to finish in early 2018.”

MSU  Students Call for Responsible Investments (12/08/2016)

“The students’ resolution would encourage the MSU Alumni Foundation to move all its investments over the next five years into a new socially and environmentally responsible endowment fund. It also calls for investing more in Montana companies and being more transparent about where the foundation puts its money.”



leonard higgins arrestLeonard Higgins Shares Story of Shutdown (12/08/2016)

“The only thing Higgins knew for sure was that his fate will be decided by a Montana jury. His trial date in Chouteau County has not yet been set. Aside from the five valve-turners, two support staffers and three independent documentary filmmakers were arrested during the events of Oct. 11. The Montana Petroleum Association denounced the protesters as “eco-terrorists,” but Higgins believes such criticisms have it backwards.”

beckly pit geeseSnow Geese Land  in Berekley Pit (12/01/2016)

‘Helena-based Montana Audubon Society executive director Steve Hoffman said that with a warmer fall, many birds, including those swimming in the Berkeley Pit water, are migrating later than usual. …

University of Montana-Western professor Jack Kirkley, who specializes in ornithology, agreed that birds are leaving later because the milder winters are not encouraging them to head south. The change in migratory pattern also means “some are staying in places where they’ve never stayed the winter before,” said Kirkley.’

train into glacier
Train into Glacier 2013

US cancels energy leases (11/17/2016)

“US cancels energy leases in Montana area sacred to Blackfeet”

“Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said the company (Devon Energy) deserved credit for its willingness to relinquish the leases in an area that’s prime habitat for grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, elk and other wildlife.”


nodalp mt capitolMontana #NoDAPL Actions (11/13-15/2016)

Actions occurred in multiple cities this week in support of the Sacred Stone Camp in Dakota. Cities holding actions included:  Helena, Missoula, Hamilton, Bozeman, Billings and Great Falls.


mt dojMHP sent to police North Dakota Pipeline (11/10/2016)

“EMAC requests are governor-to-governor.

After North Dakota’s EMAC request for assistance was approved by the Montana Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office then authorized the Montana Highway Patrol to deploy 10 troopers. The deployment began on October 29 and is scheduled to last 14 days.”



nodalp barricadeMt. Highway Patrol to North Dakota (11/09/2016)

“Deputies from the Gallatin County Sheriff Office and the county sheriff will travel to North Dakota to help with efforts to keep protests against an oil pipeline peaceful. …

According to a press release, troopers from the Montana Highway Patrol are already at the scene.”


leonard higgins pipelineTar Sands Pipeline down in Chouteau County (10/11/2016)

“Protesters forced the temporary shutdown of five pipelines carrying oil from Canadian tar sands, including one at Coal Banks Landing south of Big Sandy in Chouteau County. …
The environmental group Climate Direct Action said Tuesday that it had also successfully shut down express pipelines at locations in Washington, North Dakota, and Minnesota.”

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