Group formed to plan for aftermath of Colstrip coal plant closur - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Group formed to plan for aftermath of Colstrip coal plant closures

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HELENA - Gov. Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox announced Thursday an advisory group to address the economic impact of the closure of Colstrip's two coal-fired units in the next five years.

The 14-member committee includes state and local elected officials, union representatives and industry and economic development officials. Among its duties will be determining how to spend $10 million approved recently by Washington state utility regulators to help the community recover from the closure.

Operator Puget Sound Energy and other shareholders have said they plan to shut down its aging Units 1 and 2 by 2022 because they are no longer profitable. The other two Units, 3 and 4, could be shuttered by 2027.

The settlement agreement was reached as part of a request by Puget Sound Energy to increase its electricity rates 7.6 percent in Washington state, where Colstrip sells most of its power.

The Colstrip power plant has about 360 workers.

Members of the advisory group are:

  • Adam Schafer, Governor’s Office (co-chair)
  • Jon Bennion, Attorney General’s Office (co-chair)
  • Puget Sound Energy representative
  • John Williams, Colstrip Mayor
  • Doug Martens, Rosebud County Commissioner
  • State Sen. Duane Ankney
  • State Rep. Geraldine Custer
  • Jim Atchison, Southeastern Montana Development Corporation
  • State Sen. Jason Small, President Boilermakers 11 at Colstrip
  • Stacey Yates, Business Manager IBEW 1638 at Colstrip
  • Wally McRae, Colstrip area rancher
  • Director Pam Haxby-Cote, or Designee, Montana Department of Commerce
  • Director Tom Livers, or Designee, Montana Department of Environmental Quality
  • Commissioner Galen Hollenbaugh, or Designee, Montana Department of Labor and Industry 

RELATED: Colstrip to get $10 million to plan for the closure of power plants

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