North Dakota Oil Boom Seen Adding Cost For Rail Safety

Crude oil shipped by railroad from North Dakota is drawing fresh scrutiny from regulators concerned that the cargo is adding environmental and safety hazards, something that analysts say could raise costs. The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration is investigating whether chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are corroding rail tank cars and increasing risks. Separately, three pipeline companies including Enbridge Inc. (ENB) warned regulators that North Dakota oil with too much hydrogen sulfide, which is toxic and flammable, was reaching terminals and putting workers at risk



Montana's "unique landscape" needs to be part of climate change discussion

Read how Senator Jon Tester, Max Baucus and Representative Steve Daines answered the question: What are your perspecives on the president's recently announced climate change plans?



Pipeline to take oil to Eastern Canada

Pipeline company TransCanada said Thursday it will proceed with a $12 billion plan to pipe 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to the country's Atlantic coast - moving enough oil to replace all imports in Eastern Canada and still have enough left for exporting crude overseas. The announcement of the Energy East pipeline comes as TransCanada faces stiff environmental opposition to its proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to refineries in Texas. President Barack Obama's initial rejection of Keystone XL went over badly in Canada, which relies on the U.S. for 97 percent of its energy exports.



Credit Baucus for taking on tax reform

Sen. Max Baucus has taken on the gargantuan task of reforming our nation's tax code. If done right, it could turn out to be the most significant accomplishment of his career. But with well-established special interest groups standing in the way, it might be more likely that we just get more of the same, or worse yet, a bad deal for Montana.



DOE study: Fracking chemicals didn't taint water

A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.



Gazette Opinion: Lawmakers can still help region impacted by oil boom

With the Bakken drawing people to Eastern Montana, demand is far outstripping small towns' capacity for sewer, water, streets, law enforcement and other public services. House Bill 218 was passed by the 2011 Legislature to help local governments impacted by oil-and-gas development improve public infrastructure and services that are being overwhelmed by throngs of new residents and businesses. Sponsored by Rep. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, HB218 passed the Senate 48-2 and the House 93-6. Those lawmakers who supported HB218 in April must vote for it again by June 10 so it can become law. Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed this popular legislation, along with numerous other spending bills in his effort to maintain a $300 million balance in the state’s checking account at the end of the next biennium in summer 2015.



Guest Opinion: Bakken oil travels safely by rail, pipeline

Citizens of Montana, the Dakotas and states farther south are seeing more tanker cars than they have in years and there's a very good chance they soon will see construction crews building a new pipeline. The public deserves to know that both railroads and pipelines have major roles to play in our country's quest for energy independence -- and, most importantly, both are safe.



Guest Opinion: Baucus should oppose punitive oil-and-gas taxes

What does Sen. Max Baucus' upcoming departure mean for the issue of tax reform? After all, he has often been regarded as a political moderate whose tenure as Finance Committee chairman was highly influential. For hard-pressed working families and businesses struggling to grow and create jobs, the question is not academic. Presently, with Baucus no longer facing what could have been a tough 2014 campaign, the focus shifts to what kind of tax reform becomes likely now that the clock is winding down on his dealmaking ability. This in turn cuts across many other debates, from the "sequester" spending pullbacks to the problem of how to get our country's debt under control.



Bay Ltd. lands new contract, begins hiring in Billings

Bay Ltd., a Texas-based company that has been supplying the Canadian oil sands with steel structures fabricated at its Billings plant, has begun hiring workers after landing a new contract.



There's Twice as Much Oil Below North Dakota than We Thought

Don't expect the energy boom in Montana and the Dakotas to end anytime soon.