LAUREL, Mont. — Laurel City Council decided to not approve zone changes for a new natural gas plant on Tuesday night.

Instead, they'll send the plans back to the zoning board.

The council decided more details are needed on the impacts of the plant, specifically on public health and safety.

Council members considered changing zoning regulations for a piece of property Northwestern Energy already owns near Lindy Lane.

The power company says utility bills could skyrocket if the city rejects plans to drill a natural gas pipeline under Riverside Park. But, neighbors complain the plant would be too noisy and the distance from the Yellowstone River was too close.

They say there are also environmental concerns.

"I raft, float and fish on the Yellowstone, and I'm worried about what could happen to the wildlife. A lot of times when I float the river I see eagles, osprey and owls. And with the loud noise intruding on their environment, I'm afraid we're going to lose that," Laurel resident Karen Ehresman said.

The Mayor of Laurel says if the plant is built, it would be similar in size to a sub station near the water plant by Lindy Lane.

No one representing Northwestern Energy spoke at the meeting.

Recommended for you