Protect Laurel and Yellowstone County from NorthWestern’s polluting plant!

We have another opportunity to stand up for Laurel and Yellowstone County residents while ensuring that NorthWestern Energy is held accountable for its reckless behavior.

The monopoly utility knowingly began building its $283 million methane-fired power plant on land zoned for agricultural use along the Yellowstone River in Laurel. For the plant to become legally operational, that zoning must be changed. Sadly, Yellowstone County Commissioners, handsomely-paid politicians, tried to bail out NorthWestern by putting the squeeze on volunteer public officials in Laurel. 

Commissioners ordered Laurel officials to create changes to local policies, hoping to give NorthWestern the “heavy industrial” zoning it needs. Commissioners didn’t stop there. They also proposed dramatic expansions of industrial zones next to neighborhoods and along the Yellowstone River. Those changes would have threatened the health of this iconic Montana waterway and completely altered the character of the greater Laurel community for the worse. 

But the commissioners’ plan to bail out NorthWestern backfired thanks to you! Northern Plains members and our allies sent in hundreds of public comments and dominated hearings telling Laurel officials not to adopt the County’s industrial expansion plan. As a result, Laurel officials are listening to us, not the bullying commissioners!

The City County Planning Board, the body tasked with overseeing these changes, recently rejected the County’s proposal to expand industrial zoning and drafted a proposed zoning map that does NOT give NorthWestern the zoning changes it needs! This only happened because of you, and we need to keep up the momentum!

A public comment period for this newly proposed zoning map is open. Let’s flood the Planning Board with comments thanking them for listening to us, but also providing further recommendations to their proposal.

Submit a comment BY 10 AM, Thursday, February 15 (but the sooner the better)!

(Note: you can have an even bigger impact by adding your own language to the comment below.)

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