What do Laurel residents think about NorthWestern’s polluting power plant?

Last week, eighteen members of Northern Plains took to the sidewalks in Laurel, canvassing neighborhoods to speak with local residents about the methane-fired power plant NorthWestern Energy is building alongside the Yellowstone River on land currently zoned for agricultural use. We learned a great deal from dozens of conversations. 

Our biggest takeaways are that many community members oppose this plant, feel like NorthWestern has forced it onto them without giving them a say, and are ready to join us to take action to stop this reckless project! 

We discovered that people were deeply concerned about the dangerous, carcinogenic pollution the plant will emit if operational. Several folks mentioned the health challenges they have already experienced related to respiratory illnesses and the community’s long history with sulfur dioxide pollution (the methane-fired plant’s engines will emit another 14 tons of SO2 pollution annually according to NorthWestern’s air quality permit). 

We spoke with people who are worried about rising power bills given NorthWestern Energy is already seeking a 28% rate increase for energy customers before factoring in the $275 million dollar price tag for the plant’s structure alone. 

We also discovered that many residents were unaware of the plant, but shared our concerns about costs and the health impacts of pollution once they learned more. Most importantly, residents were eager to join us to take action!

We had hundreds of people take our fact sheet to learn more about the plant, 65 people sign up to receive more information about how to get involved, and 24 people take a yard sign to publicly display their opposition to the plant! 

Not only did we learn a great deal about the concerns of local residents on the ground in Laurel, but this canvass also reaffirmed our belief that everyday people are engaged, inspired, and motivated when they stand together with one another to enact their values and take control of decisions that impact their lives. 

 

Stand up with us to protect this place we all call home.

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