coal

Jackie Yamanaka

A bill related to the pending closure of two coal fired power plants in Colstrip remains languishing in a House committee. A Representative failed to “blast” Senate Bill 338 to the floor for debate.

The bill sailed through the state Senate but was tabled in the House Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee after it failed to pass on an 8-8 vote.

(WildEarth Guardians)

The Northern Cheyenne tribe, along with a coalition of conservation groups, sued the Trump administration Wednesday for lifting a moratorium on coal leases on public lands.

The southeastern Montana tribe filed the lawsuit in response to Interior Secretary Zinke’s decision to lift the moratorium on coal leasing.

Jackie Yamanaka

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced he lifted the moratorium on federal coal leases.   

The action came after President Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday that included calling on a review of that moratorium.

(Flickr Photo) (https://flic.kr/p/aJaQVF)

Today lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that would give the Montana Attorney General’s office $80,000 to intervene in a Washington state rate case that involves coal-fired power plants in Colstrip.

Rep. Jim Keane, D-Butte, sponsored House Bill 22 to ensure the attorney general’s office has enough money to represent the state’s interest in the pending closure of Units 1 and 2.

Jackie Yamanaka

Legislators are considering legislation to help the citizens of Colstrip and the state of Montana weather the pending closure of 2 coal fired power plants by requiring the plants owners compensate the community for the economic loss.  


Jackie Yamanaka

Schools, the state of Montana, and local governments all benefit from revenue from coal, directly and indirectly.  Besides income and property taxes, there’s also the severance tax on coal.  Half of that tax revenue goes into the permanent Coal Severance Tax Trust. That money can’t be spent without approval from at least three-fourths of both the Montana House and Senate. The other 50% goes to the state’s general fund and a myriad of projects, including for the long-range building program, conservation districts, the state Library Commission, and the cultural trust.


(Flickr/ Tim Evanson) (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/fcaznD

Washington state is refusing to allow its aquatic lands to be used for a major coal-export terminal along the Columbia River.

Outgoing Washington Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark announced Tuesday that he has rejected a request from Northwest Alloys to sublease the state’s aquatic lands to Millennium Bulk Terminals for the coal-export terminal

The denial of the land sublease is a critical blow to the proposed coal port in Longview, Washington, which would mean 16 additional mile-and-a-half-long coal trains per day rolling through Montana and Wyoming on their way to the coast.


Matt Volz / Associated Press

Montana’s U.S. House Candidates all voiced their support for the town of Colstrip and coal during their final debate last night in Great Falls.

“Ladies and gentlemen, our governor has turned coal into a four letter word,” said Libertarian candidate Rick Breckenridge. 

The comment elicited a few giggles from the standing room only audience. The surveyor from Proctor ignored them and said there’s a war on the residents of Colstrip. “Now those jobs, those lives, those livelihoods, he said.

Jackie Yamanaka

 

Governor Steve Bullock said coal is going to a be a significant part of Montana’s energy future going forward even though that future is uncertain for the coal market.

“But certainly I am committed, been committed, to making sure we’re turning over every rock,” he said.

Bullock told the crowd gathered at the Colstrip City Hall for his Energy Roundtable he has met with Asian markets and the owners of the Colstrip plants, pursuing carbon capture projects, and challenging the federal Clean Power Plan initiative that’s currently on hold.

The first public meeting over the future of the federal coal leasing program and possibly charging more to mine is underway at the Casper Events Center.

The doors opened for speaker registration at 8:30 this morning. The meeting is scheduled to conclude at 4 this afternoon. The Bureau of Land Management is live-streaming the Casper meeting.

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