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Settlement reached in damages from Exxon’s Yellowstone spill

Yellowstone River, oil spill, Montana

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. will pay $12 million for environmental damages caused by a pipeline break that spilled 63,000 gallons (238,474 liters) of crude into Montana’s Yellowstone River and prompted a national debate over lax pipeline safety rules, officials said Wednesday. The payment settles claims from the U.S. and state governments that the 2011 spill harmed natural ...

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Montana still analyzing coal mine after sponsor shelves it

Image: Anthony via Flickr

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana officials will keep studying the potential effects of a major coal mine near the Wyoming border, despite a bankruptcy filing by its sponsor Arch Coal and its suspension of the project that could produce 20 million tons of coal a year, a state official said Thursday. Regulators want to determine to what extent streambeds need ...

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NorthWestern ordered to refund Montana customers $8.2M

Power plant near Bay City opens for tours before closing

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana regulators on Tuesday ordered NorthWestern Energy to refund customers $8.24 million that the state’s largest power company charged when it had to buy electricity on the open market following a 2013 outage of the Colstrip coal plant. On a 3-2 vote, the Montana Public Service Commission said NorthWestern failed to take prudent actions to protect ...

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Judge says government must act on gas lease on sacred land

Judge says government must act on gas lease on sacred land

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge is accusing the Obama administration of trying to “run the clock out” on an oil and gas lease near Glacier National Park that’s been held up for decades. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Wednesday gave the Interior Department 24 hours to act on the matter. The 6,200-acre lease is in Montana’s Badger-Two ...

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Why many states are panicked by the federal Clean Power Plan


The four huge power plants that stand smoking in Colstrip, Montana, don’t just employ hundreds of workers. They pay property taxes that allow the city of some 2,000 people to afford services other remote, rural communities lack, such as a parks and recreation department. The electricity-generating plants consume almost all the coal mined at the Rosebud Mine, the second largest ...

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Keystone XL would have helped N.D. move some of its oil

Image: Joel Tysver

The rejection of Keystone XL is a setback for North Dakota’s oil industry, even though falling oil prices and the drop in Bakken drilling and oil production have lessened the immediate need for it. “It is a good time to say ‘No, we don’t want a pipeline’ when you really don’t need it,” said Rudy Hokanson, a Minnesota-based oil analyst ...

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Agriculture secretary: Cancel leases on sacred land

Glacier National Park

HELENA, Mont. — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack has recommended the cancellation of long-suspended oil and gas drilling leases near Glacier National Park, federal officials disclosed Monday. The 18 leases are on land considered sacred to the Blackfoot Indian tribes of the United States and Canada. A drilling suspension has been in place since the early 1990s. The owner of ...

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Audit finds railroad safety lacking during high oil traffic

Image: Pictoscribe via Flickr

HELENA, Mont. — Montana’s oversight of railroad safety falls short at a time when volatile crude oil train traffic from the Bakken region, already high, is only expected to increase, a new audit found. Montana has no active rail safety plan and employs only two inspectors to cover the vast state, the Montana Legislative Audit Division report released Wednesday said. ...

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Bakken worker death caused by toxic gas, lawsuit claims

Image: Tim Evanson via Flickr

The family of a man found dead atop an oil collection tank in the North Dakota oil patch in 2013 is suing the Texas-based company the deceased was working for. As reported by the Billings Gazette, on July 18, 2013, the body of Blaine P. Otto of Sidney, Montana, was discovered on a catwalk above the tanks where he was ...

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