A Montana judge has cancelled the permit for a proposed gas plant in the state, citing concerns over its potential impact on the climate. The ruling is a significant victory for environmental groups who have been fighting the project for years.
The proposed plant, known as the Montana Dakota Utilities (MDU) gas plant, was set to be built near the town of Culbertson in eastern Montana. The plant would have processed natural gas from the Bakken shale formation, which stretches across Montana, North Dakota, and parts of Canada.
However, the project faced fierce opposition from environmental groups who argued that the plant would contribute to climate change by emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases. The groups also raised concerns about the potential for water contamination and other environmental impacts.
In his ruling, Judge James Manley of the Montana District Court agreed with the environmental groups, stating that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had failed to adequately consider the plant’s potential impact on the climate.
“The DEQ’s analysis of the project’s greenhouse gas emissions was inadequate and failed to comply with Montana law,” Judge Manley wrote in his ruling. “The DEQ’s decision to issue the permit was therefore arbitrary and capricious.”
The ruling is a significant setback for MDU, which had already invested millions of dollars in the project. The company had argued that the plant would create jobs and provide a reliable source of energy for the region.
However, environmental groups hailed the decision as a major victory for the climate and for local communities.
“This is a huge win for the people of Montana and for the planet,” said Anne Hedges, deputy director of the Montana Environmental Information Center. “We cannot continue to build new fossil fuel infrastructure if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”
The ruling is also likely to have broader implications for other fossil fuel projects across the country. As concerns over climate change continue to grow, more and more communities are pushing back against new fossil fuel infrastructure, and judges are increasingly willing to listen to their arguments.
Overall, the cancellation of the MDU gas plant permit is a clear sign that the tide is turning against fossil fuels, and that the fight for a cleaner, more sustainable future is gaining momentum.