coal

Pollution from British Columbia coal mining operations is making its way into Montana and Idaho’s Kootenai River. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study found high levels of selenium in mountain whitefish eggs and that could be impacting the species’ reproduction.

A pile of coal, 2012.
bartb_pt/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality opened a 30-day public comment period Tuesday for a proposed major revision at Spring Creek Coal Mine in southeast Montana. The revision could allow about 72 million tons of coal to be mined.

A set of four smoking power plants stacks
Jackie Yamanaka / Yellowstone Public Radio

The state expects to release final details of plans to clean up groundwater contaminated by toxic coal ash at the Colstrip power plant next month.

Rich Trumka, the president of the country’s largest union federation, the AFL-CIO, was in Montana for the state’s convention in Missoula last week. The federation represents many workers in Montana’s troubled coal industry. 

Trumka is a third-generation miner. The Pennsylvania native can’t accept that workers, like those in Colstrip, are getting squeezed out of their jobs.

Left to right: Lill Erickson, Roger and Betsy Indreland and Chris Mehus on the Indreland Ranch north of Big Timber, MT, May 09, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

The Earth passed a new threshold this week — an observatory in Hawaii clocked the highest levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide in human history. A number of studies say CO2 is part of what’s driving higher temperatures, drought and longer fire seasons in the West. Now ranchers in Montana are testing out a new program that’s trying to put some of that carbon back in the ground.

Coal
Kym Farnik / Flickr

As the demand for coal continues to decline in the U.S., two companies with mines in Montana and Wyoming are saving money by cutting worker benefits.

Terry Allen / Flickr

 

Calling it a matter of national security, the Trump administration wants to export coal to Asia through military bases along the West Coast. Companies are currently blocked from using ports in California and Washington State.

USDA NRCS

A major U.S. coal producer filed for bankruptcy Tuesday morning.

Westmoreland Coal Company operates five mines in Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico. They employ more than a thousand people.

The Trump administration announced a new rule on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, called the ‘Affordable Clean Energy Rule.’ It would put regulatory power in states’ hands.

The Obama administration had previously tried to enact something called the Clean Power Plan, which was considered the country’s primary strategy for lowering emissions to meet its 2030 target under the Paris climate agreement.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks with the press.
U.S. Department of the Interior

A federal watchdog group said the U.S. Interior Department didn’t give an adequate reason for cancelling a study on the health impacts of coal mining last year.

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