colstrip

Jackie Yamanaka

On Tuesday, the Trump administration will abandon the Obama-era clean power plan, but what does that mean for Montana's largest coal-fired power plant?


Failed Legislation Means Uncertainty For Colstrip's Future

May 4, 2017

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.

Jackie Yamanaka

A bill related to the pending closure of two coal fired power plants in Colstrip remains languishing in a House committee. A Representative failed to “blast” Senate Bill 338 to the floor for debate.

The bill sailed through the state Senate but was tabled in the House Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee after it failed to pass on an 8-8 vote.

(Flickr Photo) (https://flic.kr/p/aJaQVF)

Today lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that would give the Montana Attorney General’s office $80,000 to intervene in a Washington state rate case that involves coal-fired power plants in Colstrip.

Rep. Jim Keane, D-Butte, sponsored House Bill 22 to ensure the attorney general’s office has enough money to represent the state’s interest in the pending closure of Units 1 and 2.

Jackie Yamanaka

Legislators are considering legislation to help the citizens of Colstrip and the state of Montana weather the pending closure of 2 coal fired power plants by requiring the plants owners compensate the community for the economic loss.  


Jackie Yamanaka

Bills to assist the town of Colstrip deal with the pending closure of 2 coal-fired power generation plants are working their way through the legislative process. Some Colstrip residents organized an evening reception for lawmakers to draw attention to the issue.


"It's more about the lawsuits than it is about the clean power plan," says Montana senator Duane Ankey of Colstrip.
Jackie Yamanaka / YPR

 

Governor Steve Bullock said coal is going to a be a significant part of Montana’s energy future going forward even though that future is uncertain for the coal market.

“But certainly I am committed, been committed, to making sure we’re turning over every rock,” he said.

Bullock told the crowd gathered at the Colstrip City Hall for his Energy Roundtable he has met with Asian markets and the owners of the Colstrip plants, pursuing carbon capture projects, and challenging the federal Clean Power Plan initiative that’s currently on hold.

Jackie Yamanaka

One of the owners of Colstrip Units 1 and 2 denies his company is angling for a fast-track closure of the coal-fired power plants.

Steve Secrist, general council for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) told attendees at the Montana Energy Conference the utility is looking to the long-term.

A bill passed earlier this year by the Washington State Legislature sets up a mechanism to fund a decommissioning and clean-up of the two oldest units at the Colstrip power plant.

Jackie Yamanaka

CHS Refinery Manager Pat Kimmet told U.S. Senator Steve Daines, R-MT,  the facility’s electricity bill is $18 million a year. He says to put it into perspective, the refinery spends $15 million a year in wages and benefits for its employees. He says the average salary is just over $120,000.