Connect with us


Protesters gather in Laurel in opposition to NorthWestern Energy’s natural gas plant



Laurel, Montana – Tuesday saw a protest by the members of the Northern Plains Resource Council against the project.

They are worried about the natural gas facility owned by NorthWestern Energy.

They claim that because it is currently being built on property that is zoned for agriculture, the city and county have not completely established the zoning.

Tuesday’s discussion on the new 175-megawatt Yellowstone County Generating Station, a natural gas plant with reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE units), was heated despite the cold and snowy weather.

“There are a lot of issues with this plant that should be addressed and looked at more closely,” said Steve Krum, a Northern Plains member.

Through the zoning debate, protesters want to support the project.

The project was built on ground that was designated for agriculture, according to the resource council and others.

“I’ve lived in this area either in town or outside of town my whole life,” Krum said. “And we are part of this community those that live around the community and this plant will impact those around the committee community. But it will also impact the city of Laurel.”

The group has taken Northwestern Energy to court.

Northwestern claims that it is developing a 33-acre reciprocating internal combustion engine (RICE) natural gas facility that will be geared to reduce noise and carbon emissions.

On the other side of the river, though, Thiel Road homeowners remain unconvinced.

“This is very close to the city of Laurel,” Krum said. “This is very close to my daughter’s family’s residential areas down by the river and it could be a very dangerous plant, just the type of plant is being built.”

Despite the rally’s focus on zoning, there are still significant environmental issues.

The Northern Plains Resource Council requests that a judge decide who is in charge of zoning.

We have not yet received a response from the Yellowstone County commissioners, and the planning department of the city of Laurel says it is unable to respond due to the litigation.

Northwestern adds that it is unable to comment on ongoing legal matters.