Northern Plains Resource Council Holds Hearing for Clean Air in Laurel and Billings
The Northern Plains Resource Council held a hearing on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn today (02/10) and citizens were encouraged to stop by, and speak their minds about the building of a natural gas power plant in Laurel next to the Yellowstone River.
Northwestern Energy is under major scrutiny regarding this plant.
Plans for the construction of the natural gas plant surfaced in April of 2021 and is estimated to cost $250 million. Construction of a pipeline to go under the Yellowstone River was halted in January of this year due to resident concern, and it has only intensified in the month since. "Northwestern Energy has evaded public comment on this plant in particular," said Dustin Ogdin, Communications Director for the Northern Plains Resource Council. A Laurel City Council meeting took place in November of 2021, where citizens expressed concerns about loud constant noise and increased pollution. Ogdin also stated that Northwestern Energy is planning on building a total of 8 plants of the same type in Montana.
How do these power plants work?
Natural gas power plants burn natural gas to turn the chemical energy of the natural gas into energy, which is then used to power different things. However, one of the major concerns across the board is the release of methane into the atmosphere. According to the EPA, methane doesn't remain in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide does, however, its impact over a 100-year period is larger because it traps heat more efficiently.
The Hearing took place at noon today with quite a turnout. Many folks held signs saying, "We deserve better," and the rally was kicked off with a song encouraging people to stand up and speak out. "The hearing provides a voice for those citizens who aren't being heard," Ogdin said.