Colstrip plant owners, Montana environmentalists settle coal ash issues

Talen Energy (NYSE:TLN) and the other owners of the Colstrip power plant have reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit filed in Montana state court over a comprehensive agreement with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regarding disposal of coal combustion residuals.

A Talen spokesperson confirmed the settlement agreement July 22, which had been reported earlier in the week by Montana media.

In addition to Talen Montana, the other five owners of the Colstrip plant are Puget Sound Energy, Avista (NYSE:AVA), Portland General Electric (NYSE:POR), NorthWestern Corp. and PacifiCorp.

The settlement agreement is in addition to a proposed settlement filed July 12 in federal court to resolve litigation brought by environmental groups under the Clean Air Act. That settlement is awaiting approval by a federal judge. Under the July 12 deal, Colstrip owners agreed to close two coal units by July 2022.

In 2012, the Sierra Club, the Montana Environmental Inflormation Center and other environmental groups challenged an MDEQ consent order that requires Talen Montana to follow a detailed public process, including provision of financial assurances, for closing and remediating ash disposal ponds at Colstrip.

In the settlement, Talen Montana agrees to convert to a non-liquid disposal process for coal ash and scrubber solid wastes at Colstrip Units 3 and 4 by July 1, 2022. In exchange, the environmental groups will dismiss their lawsuit and provide a broad waiver of future environmental claims.



About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at