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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Legislators Debate Requiring Detailed Cleanup Plan For Colstrip Units 1 & 2

Sen. Duane Ankney (R) - Colstrip.
Mike Albans
Montana Public Radio
State Senator Duane Ankney (R) SD-20, is the sponsor of several bills directed at the future of Colstrip.

The state senator from Colstrip is asking lawmakers in Helena to consider a bill requiring a more detailed cleanup plan for when two coal-fired electric generators in his town shut down.

On Monday, Republican Duane Ankney proposed the first of several bills he is bringing forward this legislative session directed at the future of Colstrip

Ankney delivered the Coal-fired Generating Unit Decommissioning and Remediation Act [SB-37] to the Senate Natural Resource committee.

Ankney says his bill would provide more guidelines as to what the operators of Colstrip power plant units 1 and 2 must do before shutting down operation, which will happen by 2022 at the very latest.

"It looks to me like if there was defined guidelines in taking that plant down, it would keep them out of court, it would make decommissioning and dismantling of that site much easier, if they knew exactly what they had to do."

The bill has the support of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality as well as representatives speaking on the behalf of groups of cities and towns across the state. 

Both if the out-of-state owner-operators of Colstrip units 1 and 2, Talen Energy and Puget Sound Energy,  testified against Ankney’s bill.

A representative from the Montana Environmental information Center also testified against it.

Lawmakers did not vote on the bill, or proposed amendments, during its hearing, Monday.

Corin Cates-Carney is the news director at Montana Public Radio. He joined MTPR in 2015 and is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism.
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