Montana Public Radio

Puget Sound Energy

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

A legal settlement announced late Friday afternoon could send $10 million to the town of Colstrip to mitigate impacts from the partial shut down of the huge coal-fired power plant there.

"I think it’s a win for the town of Colstrip and a win for the state of Montana," says Eric Sell, a spokesman for Montana Attorney General Tim Fox.

Failed Legislation Means Uncertainty For Colstrip's Future

May 3, 2017
Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

When Montana's 2017 Legislature adjourned on April 28, Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, ended almost right where he began.

At the session's beginning, he helped draw up several bills that would help his community, which is facing the impending closure of two out of four units at its massive coal-fired electrical plant. By the time lawmakers left the Capitol, many of the bills – aimed at easing impacts on jobs, tax revenues and real estate – were dead.

Duane Ankney, the Republican Senator from Colstrip
Mike Albans

The town of Colstrip’s biggest champion in the Legislature walked out of the south entrance of the Capitol building Monday night disappointed.

His proposal aiming to secure the social and economic future of his home town, as parts of the coal-fired power plant there are scheduled to go off line in coming years, failed to pass out of a House committee.

Duane Ankney, the Republican Senator from Colstrip
Mike Albans

Last July, the operators of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant settled a lawsuit with environmental groups, agreeing to shut down the plants two older electricity generators by 2022.

As the community of Colstrip tries to figure out an uncertain future, their Republican Senator Duane Ankney is proposing legislation aiming to provide some security for his town.

Sen. Duane Ankney (R) - Colstrip.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

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

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

Parts of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip will shut down by 2022. But there’s a chance that the plant’s operators could pull out even sooner, creating an unforeseeable future for the community the power plant employs. Lawmakers in Helena say they have a plan that will help Colstrip stay open for as long as possible.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Montana’s Environmental Quality Council heard about a potential legislative response to the pending partial closure of the Colstrip power plant.

Coal with the town of Colstrip in the background
Amy Martin

What is going to happen to Colstrip? That was the question Thursday as state legislators questioned companies that agreed to shut down two of the four coal-burning units of the Colstrip electricity plant.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

By July 1, 2022, Units 1 and 2 of the coal-fired plant in Colstrip will close. The plant's owners agreed to do so to settle a lawsuit with environmental groups. The settlement was announced today.

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

Today Governor Steve Bullock said he wants to convene a "working group" to explore alternative ownership of most of the Colstrip coal-fired electricity plant.

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