Environment & Science

Thomas D. Mangelsen

A public discussion is scheduled Saturday, May 14, 2016, in Billings to discuss the fate of grizzly bears that live in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Journalist Todd Wilkinson from Bozeman and grizzly bear biologist Dr. David Mattson will present a slide show and talk about the grizzly in the environment.

Wilkinson is the author of the book on one of the most famous grizzly sows of the Greater Yellowstone, 399.

Jackie Yamanaka

The U-S Environmental Protection Agency redesignated Billings as in compliance with federal air pollution standards.

Governor Steve Bullock says this is the first time EPA has reversed a non-attainment decision

The EPA’s nonattainment designation was handed down in 2013. Federal officials pointed to the closure of the coal-fired Corette Power Plant as improving the air quality.  But state officials disagree that’s the reason for the re-designation.

Jackie Yamanaka

Billings Senior High School saved taxpayers $85,000 in energy costs over a 4-month period.

Governor Steve Bullock applauds the effort and awarded the school $1,000 for its efforts under the SMART (Saving Money and Resources Today) Schools Challenge. 

During a visit to Billings Senior, Bullock recognized the school for providing a learning environment that’s also energy sustainable.

Montana is rich in wind resources, but the demand currently doesn’t support the high cost, according to wind and utility expert.

Rob Gramlich of the American Wind Energy Association says Texas, Iowa, and California are the top states taking advantage of wind power.

He says even though Montana isn’t in the top five there are opportunities.

Gramlich says Montana is “the biggest expected source of wind power across the west.”

Jackie Yamanaka

One of the owners of Colstrip Units 1 and 2 denies his company is angling for a fast-track closure of the coal-fired power plants.

Steve Secrist, general council for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) told attendees at the Montana Energy Conference the utility is looking to the long-term.

A bill passed earlier this year by the Washington State Legislature sets up a mechanism to fund a decommissioning and clean-up of the two oldest units at the Colstrip power plant.

Jackie Yamanaka

The Crow Tribe moved another step closer to developing its water resources, including a proposed hydroelectric dam project at Yellowtail Afterbay Dam.

Crow Tribal Chairman Darrin Old Coyote says the signing of the Storage Allocation Agreement comes after decades of litigation and negotiation.

Jackie Yamanaka

A wet, spring snowstorm did not deter about 60 people to a rally on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn to tout renewable energy.

The event, sponsored by the Northern Plains Resource Council, was scheduled to coincide with Senator Steve Daines’ Montana Energy Conference.

“We’re very unique in that we truly do have an all-of-the-above energy portfolio,” said Daines in remarks to employees at the CHS Refinery in Laurel.

Jackie Yamanaka

CHS Refinery Manager Pat Kimmet told U.S. Senator Steve Daines, R-MT,  the facility’s electricity bill is $18 million a year. He says to put it into perspective, the refinery spends $15 million a year in wages and benefits for its employees. He says the average salary is just over $120,000.

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

Excerpt:   Peabody Energy is one of the largest coal companies in the world and operates mines all over the United States, including in Wyoming.  Now some of Peabody's senior lenders are recommending bankruptcy, as the company faces potential defaults on several loans...

This story is courtesy of Inside Energy, a public media collaboration focused on America's energy issues.

  The warm temperatures and windy conditions that have been part of the Billings area weather forecast can be causing problems for trees and shrubs, especially the evergreens.

Last year a common sight around Billings was the winter burn or winter kill. Those were the brown sections that appeared on lots of evergreens.

The problem is water.  And now is the time to take action to prevent winter kill this season.

Amy Grandpre is the horticulture assistant for Yellowstone County Extension Service.  She says the key is to water the drip line.

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