Shutdown of Colstrip Units 1 and 2 Now Inevitable – Reactions Vary
The six Colstrip owners, along with the Sierra Club and the Montana Environmental Information Center, have filed a settlement agreement pursuant to litigation under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review program in 2013.
The result is that the owners of Colstrip have agreed to cease operations of Units 1 and 2 on or before 2022. Units 3 and 4 are not affected by the agreement. There are currently no firm plans or schedule in place to retire Units 1 and 2.
The announcement drew a swift reaction from Montana Senator Steve Daines:
“The closure of Colstrip units 1 and 2 is devastating news. Colstrip provides hundreds of good paying jobs, is an anchor to the entire economy and tax base of Montana and because of fringe environmental extremists and the onslaught of anti-energy regulations from the Obama administration we are seeing this important plant, one of the largest coal-fired generating stations in the West and our largest industrial facility in Montana, lose significant part of its generating capacity. We need to stop the attacks on Montana-made energy before we lose more good-paying jobs.”
On the other side of the issue, Mike Scott with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, was pleased with the news.
"This ia a huge deal in terms of reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions," Scott said. "Colstrip, depending on the year, has been called the eighth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the country."
Scott said shutting down the plants will give the displaced workers a chance to get jobs cleaning up the site or find jobs in solar and wind technology.
"If we just respond appropriately as a state, we can put people back to work in the renewable energy industry," he said.
Governor Steve Bullock said he was disappointed in the settlement and will be sending a representative from his economic development office to Colstrip on Wednesday.