Large Montana coal plant to close 2 units

The Associated Press

A large Montana coal plant serving utility customers across the Pacific Northwest has agreed to shut down two of its four units and limit how much it pollutes in the meantime under a deal with environmentalists.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on an agreement to close two units at Montana's Colstrip coal plant, which provides electricity to customers across the Pacific Northwest (all times local):

1:55 p.m.

A large Montana coal plant serving utility customers across the Pacific Northwest has agreed to shut down two of its four units and limit how much it pollutes in the meantime under a deal with environmentalists.

A consent decree detailing the partial shutdown of the 2,100-megawatt Colstrip plant by 2022 was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Montana. It needs approval from federal officials before becoming final.

The move follows a wave of coal plant closures that have transformed the utility industry in the United States.

The Sierra Club and Montana Environmental Center sued Colstrip's owners in 2013 over alleged air pollution violations.

The plant employs about 360 people. Co-owner Puget Sound Energy says most of those jobs likely will be retained as Colstrip's two other units continue operating.

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12:50 p.m.

A large Montana coal plant serving utility customers across the Pacific Northwest has agreed to shut down two of its four units by mid-2022 under a deal with environmentalists.

Representatives of Puget Sound Energy said a consent decree detailing the fate of the 2,100-megawatt Colstrip plant would be filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

The Sierra Club and Montana Environmental Center sued the plant's owners in 2013 over alleged air pollution violations.

PSE President Kimberly Harris says low natural gas prices made the plant less economic. She also says that without the settlement Colstrip could have been forced to purchase costly pollution controls.

Tuesday's announcement follows a wave of coal plant closures that have transformed the utility industry in the United States.

Colstrip employs about 360 people.

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