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Colstrip cleanup measure runs into opposition

This  2010 file photo shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. (Matt Brown / Associated Press)
This 2010 file photo shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. (Matt Brown / Associated Press)
Associated Press

HELENA – Environmentalists are lining up with the owners of Montana’s Colstrip plant against a bill that would set cleanup guidelines ahead of the plant’s anticipated partial shutdown.

The bill’s Republican sponsor, Sen. Duane Ankney of Colstrip, told the Senate Natural Resources Committee Monday that the measure would ensure Colstrip is cleaned properly.

Ankney says the measure is not intended to punish utilities that want to shut down two of Colstrip’s four units by 2022.

But representatives of Colstrip co-owners Talen Energy and Puget Sound Energy say Ankney’s measure duplicates existing laws and would be a hindrance to the cleanup.

Anne Hedges with the Montana Environmental Information Center says language that suggests any cleanup work needs to be practical and cost-effective should be changed.

Committee members took no immediate action.

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