Issues We Work On
Colstrip Ash Pond Cleanup
The ash ponds associated with the Colstrip power plant have been leaking since their inception. We are working to ensure there is effective cleanup, which is necessary to protect the permanent health and well-being of the surrounding community members, businesses, and the environment. The aquifers that are impacted by the Colstrip Units 1&2 and Units 3&4 coal ash ponds support the springs, wells, and creeks that make agricultural livelihoods in this area possible. These water sources are irreplaceable.
Farming and ranching in southeast Montana has been a tradition for generations. We are working to ensure the land and water are protected so that we pass them on to future generations unimpaired.
History and Accomplishments
Our members have been instrumental in the following accomplishments:
- 1972 & 1975: Shaping and passing Montana’s landmark environmental laws.
- 1977-2016: Winning an outright dismissal of the construction permit for the Tongue River Railroad, a major coal infrastructure project. A diverse campaign, dogged persistence, and effective strategy won this 38-year campaign in April 2016.
- 2020: Played a key role in a ruling by the Department of Environmental Quality to fully excavate the leaking ash ponds associated with Colstrip Power Plant Units 1 & 2, and move the ash to a new, lined landfill that is separated from groundwater.
- 2010-2021: Played a major role in the struggle to stop six massive coal ports from being developed, bringing the voice of Montana into an otherwise Washington state-centric fight.
Northern Plains Board Representative