Bull Mountain Land Alliance

A founding affiliate of Northern Plains, the Bull Mountain Land Alliance (formerly the Bull Mountain Landowners Association) was formed in 1969 after a small group of landowners organized to protect their family farms and ranches from the threat of coal mining. Over the years we have acted as a watchdog over agencies to safeguard our land, air and water from the impacts of coal-based energy development.

Our Mission

The Bull Mountain Land Alliance stands up for land and people by advocating for affordable and efficient energy use, prosperous family farms and ranches, and a healthy local economy.

Current Campaigns

"The Battle of the Bulls"

The Bull Mountains are worth protecting. The abundant wildlife, rugged hills, and expansive grasslands have sustained generations of Montanans who live, ranch, and recreate here.

Signal Peak Energy is the operator of the Bull Mountain Mine No.1, Montana’s only underground coal mine. According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, SPE produced around 7.25 million tons of coal in 2021, making it the seventh largest underground coal mine in the United States by production. The criminally-convicted company has bullied landowners, illegally dumped toxic slurry, and threatened the livelihoods of local residents. We cannot allow Signal Peak’s reckless abuse of our fragile watershed to go by without holding them accountable.

Between now and around 2030, Signal Peak’s mining activity is getting closer to an increasing amount of landowners and residents of the Bull Mountains. SPE has also begun the early steps of seeking a permit expansion, which would mean mining after 2030. As part of our campaign, we are working to ensure that our neighbors are informed of the impacts of longwall mining, especially to their water, and how to best protect themselves and hold Signal Peak accountable in the event of impacts from mining activity. As part of this campaign:

  • If you live in the Bull Mountains, check out our community resource page with information on a community based water quantity monitoring program, testimonials from impacted Bull Mountains neighbors, and FAQs on the impacts of mining activity.
  • We have developed a standard operating procedure with a hydrologist on how to best collect data on the water quantity and flow of wells and springs. If you live in the Bull Mountains and are interested in taking part in this effort, please contact Bronya at bronya@northernplains.org.

Issues We Work On


We organize at the grassroots level for enforcement of antitrust laws against the meatpacking monopoly, have fought for our constitutional right to free speech by challenging the mandatory beef check-off, have successfully lobbied for fairer ag land taxation to support ranchers instead of speculators, have created new markets for local foods, and more. Our members have worked to develop practices and educate other Montanans on boosting yields, drought resistance, and storing carbon through building soil health.



Pat Thiele

Vice Chair

Boyd Charter


Tom Baratta


Phil Richmond

Northern Plains Board Representative

Steve Charter
Ellen Pfister

Community Organizer

Check out these upcoming events in your area!​

Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council Annual Meeting

Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council Annual..

Join Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council (YVCC) for our Annual Meeting! We’re bringing back our potluck for 2022, and we’re excited to join our members together in-person again.

Northern Plains’ 51st Annual Meeting

Northern Plains’ 51st Annual Meeting

After a half century of protecting Montanans’ right to a clean and healthful environment, this year Northern Plains is Bringing Democracy Home. Join us for our 51st Annual Meeting!


Our Team

Effy McEldowney

Grassroots Fundraising Coordinator

Michael Skinner

GNA Manager and Community Organizer

Jeanie Alderson, Birney

Past Chair

Emma Kerr-Carpenter, Billings

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council

Kris Glenn, Billings

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council

John Gayusky, Livingston

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Bend Citizens Council

Joan Kresich, Livingston

Affiliate Representatives- Yellowstone Bend Citizens Council

Tom Heyneman, Fishtail

Affiliate Representatives- Stillwater Protective Association

Edward Barta, Billings

Vice-Chair & Affiliate Representatives - Stillwater Protective Association

Mic Smith, Helena

Affiliate Representatives- Sleeping Giant Citizens Council

Sign up to receive important email updates!

Stay informed about the work we are doing across Montana to protect our air, water, agriculture, and natural resources.

WordPress Lightbox