Montana Public Radio

Talen Energy

 

Two of the Colstrip power plant’s four units ceased operation last week. Residents in Colstrip voiced shock and sadness Saturday about the long-planned but still surprising shutdowns.

Montana Coal Power Plant Closing Two Units Built In 1970s

Jan 3, 2020
Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — One of the largest coal-fired power plants in the western U.S. will close two of its four units in coming days as the Montana facility edges toward an eventual total shutdown.


Amid constantly changing closure dates for a power plant majority owned by out-of-state companies, a town that found success through coal is coming to terms with the plant’s partial retirement. Kayla Desroches spent a day in Colstrip in southeast Montana to talk with some of the people who live and work in the community.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on a proposal to remediate pollution from wastewater facilities at Units 1 and 2 at the Colstrip Steam Electric Station.


The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment for next month on the mitigation of Colstrip groundwater contamination.


The state expects to release final details of plans to clean up groundwater contaminated by toxic coal ash at the Colstrip power plant next month.

2019 Montana lobbying spending.
Cassidy Alexander, via Datawrapper / Montana Public Radio

At least $6.5 million dollars was spent on lobbying during the state’s 2019 legislative session. That’s according to the spending reports that groups trying to influence state lawmakers are legally required to file.

Montana Public Radio dug into the reports, which this year got harder for the public to make sense of.

Spending to influence Montana laws and elections.
National Institute on Money in Politics

At least $6.5 million was spent on lobbying efforts during Montana’s 2019 legislative session.

That’s more than two and a half times as much as legislative candidates have raised on their election campaigns annually in recent years.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Units 1 and 2 of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip will permanently close at the end of this year. Plant operator Talen Energy made that announcement in a press release Tuesday, saying the company has been unsuccessful in making the units economically viable. Talen says the plant’s newer units, 3 and 4, will remain open.

A report released today by The Northern Plains Resource Council (NPRC) says a more thorough cleanup of the coal ash ponds at the Colstrip power plant will create more jobs and permanently stop groundwater contamination.
Northern Plains Resource Council

A report released today by The Northern Plains Resource Council (NPRC) says a more thorough cleanup of the coal ash ponds at the Colstrip power plant will create more jobs and permanently stop groundwater contamination.

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