MTPR

Talen Energy


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.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Colstrip operator Talen Energy was sued Friday by a former parent company over claims of responsibility for worker pensions and environmental cleanup costs at that coal-fired power plant in southeast Montana.

The suit filed by Pennsylvania-based PPL Corporation in a Delaware court says Talen Montana is without merit trying to recover more than $700 million from its predecessor. 

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.

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