Montana deserves better than methane.
To NorthWestern Energy CEO Bob Rowe, the NorthWestern executive team, and the NorthWestern board of directors,
We, the undersigned energy customers of Montana, are disappointed by the profound failures of leadership by NorthWestern Energy. NorthWestern continues to abuse its monopoly utility status, putting corporate profits above the health and well-being of Montana communities. Repeatedly, NorthWestern chooses expensive, polluting energy sources that lead to ever-increasing energy bills for hardworking Montanans while degrading our land, our air, our water, and our health. While NorthWestern’s public relations campaigns point to a need for cleaner, safer energy sources, the corporation’s business practices continually fail to meet that responsibility.
NorthWestern is currently attempting to force a methane-fired power plant onto the community of Laurel, immediately adjacent to the Yellowstone River. This massive industrial plant will require eighteen smokestacks – seven stories tall each – dominating an area traditionally used for agriculture and outdoor recreation. The plant will irrevocably disrupt a riverfront community with extremely loud equipment operating 24 hours a day and industrial lighting obscuring night skies. The potential health impacts are even more concerning. If completed, this methane-fired plant will be classified as a Major Source of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP), which means it will emit cancer-causing pollutants.
NorthWestern has repeatedly cut residents out of the process as it pushes this project forward, evading public input at every turn. In an act of blatant disregard to the local community and its own customer base, the corporation is ignoring zoning laws, building an industrial project on an area zoned exclusively for agricultural use.
NorthWestern is also ignoring legal questions over whether the city or county has jurisdiction over the area’s zoning. Instead of waiting respectfully for clarification from the court regarding jurisdiction, NorthWestern plows forward with construction.
We demand NorthWestern Energy stop construction of the Laurel methane-fired plant and respect the legal rights of local governmental bodies and residents to have a say in important decisions that impact our health, lives, and livelihoods.
Please add your name and information to the form below, so we can deliver this letter to NorthWestern Energy executives and board members:
- Air pollution from fossil fuels leads to cancer, heart attacks and respiratory diseases like asthma.
- Laurel is already dealing with air quality problems due to sulphur dioxide pollution, and a new methane plant would only exacerbate this public health problem.
- NorthWestern Energy is abusing its position as a monopoly utility company by ducking its responsibility to provide energy in a clean and healthy way.
- Instead of embracing the more affordable, clean energy solutions Montanans want, NorthWestern is trying to stick with the energy sources of yesterday that allow it to generate unearned profits for executives and shareholders.
- The fuel for methane plants is a commodity with high market volatility ripe for manipulation to maximize corporate profits at the expense of customers. Wind and sun are not commodities, which makes the costs to customers more transparent and affordable.
- NorthWestern is rushing this dangerous and reckless methane plant without soliciting public input. The company is keeping customers in the dark about the complete cost of the plant, as well as it impacts and costs to public health.
- Methane is 80 times more potent as a climate pollutant than carbon dioxide. Not only are methane plants an immediate threat to public health, they are a long term threat to the health of our climate and the future prosperity of younger generations.