Latest Environmental Reporting

Legislature wades into exempt-well debate

Montana lawmakers are eyeing changes to a loophole increasingly used to facilitate residential development. Opponents say the real estate and building industries are turning water appropriation on its head.


BLM explores utility-scale solar in Montana

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking input on its plan to bring solar energy development to Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. If all goes as planned, the federal government will have enough renewable energy in the pipeline by 2025 to power five million homes, per a target President Joe Biden unveiled in 2020.

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Jocko Valley residents challenge DEQ over asphalt plant, new law

In the spring of 2022, Riverside Contracting applied for a 20-year, open-cut mining permit with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality on more than 150 acres off White Coyote Road in the Jocko Valley. A new nonprofit, formed in response, is pressing for a more thorough environmental review.

Judge blocks coal mine expansion sought by Signal Peak

In a Feb. 10 ruling, a Missoula judge found that the federal government’s environmental review of Signal Peak Energy’s proposal to expand the Bull Mountains Mine harbored “sufficiently serious” errors. The order effectively halts Signal Peak from mining federal coal until an environmental impact statement has been completed.

The grizzly Rorschach test

If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removes NCDE and Yellowstone grizzlies from the United States’ list of endangered and threatened species, Montana will assume full management authority of those bears — something it hasn’t had since Lower 48 grizzlies became one of the first species to join the Endangered Species List in 1975. Stakeholders…

Legislature weighs bill to exempt some small subdivisions from MEPA review

Proponents of Senate Bill 240 say it will allow the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to devote its resources to larger projects with more pressing water quality concerns. Opponents say it could facilitate development of agricultural land in “pop-up subdivisions.”


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