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Portland utility suspends effort on new natural gas plants

Workers tend to oil pump jacks behind a natural gas flare near Watford City, N.D. Portland General Electric has suspended its effort to get permits for two new natural gas-fired power plants in eastern Oregon. (Eric Gay / AP)
Workers tend to oil pump jacks behind a natural gas flare near Watford City, N.D. Portland General Electric has suspended its effort to get permits for two new natural gas-fired power plants in eastern Oregon. (Eric Gay / AP)
Associated Press

PORTLAND – Portland General Electric has suspended its effort to get permits for two new natural gas-fired power plants in eastern Oregon.

PGE said Friday that it sent letters to two Oregon state agencies asking them to suspend the utility’s request for a change that would have allowed it to build two natural gas-fired plants at its Carty Generating Station near Boardman.

Oregon Public Broadcasting says that those facilities were proposed to replace PGE’s coal-fired plant in Boardman when it closes in 2020.

Environmentalists had criticized those plans and urged the utility to move away from fossil fuels.

PGE says it changed course after listening to regulators, customers and stakeholders. It’s now in negotiations to contract with existing resources and facilities.

Utility spokesman Steve Corson says the intent is to see whether the utility can tap existing energy resources.

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