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Missoula Seeks To Join NorthWestern Facility Approval Process

The entrance to NorthWestern Energy's Butte office.
Nora Saks
Montana Public Radio

The city and county of Missoula are applying to participate in the state’s approval process for a proposed gas-fired power plant in southeast Montana.

The city and county of Missoula on Thursday filed their motion to take part in consideration of NorthWestern Energy’s proposed facility as an intervenor.

NorthWestern is asking for approval from regulators to build a 175-megawatt natural gas-fired plant in Laurel, just west of Billings, and to contract on a 50-megawatt battery storage facility proposed for construction in Yellowstone County.

Missoula County Sustainability Program Manager Diana Maneta says the intervenor status would give Missoula a chance to share information and perspectives and closely follow the process.

“We certainly believe that any proposal to develop new fossil fuel resources deserves very serious scrutiny,” Maneta says.

Missoula set a goal of reaching 100 percent clean electricity by 2030 and signed a memorandum of agreement with NorthWestern Energy last summer to help achieve that.

A handful of groups and individuals had filed to intervene ahead of Thursday’s deadline.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.