Colstrip’s Knockout Blow

The EPA is proposing a second series of new regulations – this time to strongly curtail carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. The agency is accepting citizen comments until August 8. Since power plants are responsible for 25 percent of this country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, we hope that you will take the time to comment in support of these new regulations on fossil-fuel-fired electrical generators and cut 617 million tons of carbon pollution. Comments are due August 8.

Take action today and tell the EPA to support these new power plant standards that will combat climate change, improve public health, and protect our environment.

Several weeks ago we informed you of EPA’s new mercury and toxic metals standards. Tom Lutey in The Billings Gazette wrote that the two Colstrip plants are completely unprepared to meet these mercury standards. If you commented these first regulations, we are grateful.

Now here come new greenhouse gas emissions standards. If adopted, NorthWestern Energy and Colstrip’s other owners must choose one of four options:

• Ignore the EPA and keep operating Colstrip 3 and 4 – pouring out 10 million tons of CO2 a year – until the EPA closes them down on January 1, 2032,
• Build carbon capture and sequestration equipment to capture 90 percent of carbon emissions by 2035,
• Build “co-generating” technology that blends 60 percent coal with 40 percent natural gas and close between 2038 and 2040, or
• Cut production of electricity to 20 percent of full capacity and close by 2035.

The EPA’s argument is straight-forward. Fossil fuel electrical generators are the largest source of greenhouse gases. Global warming is causing life-threatening environmental and human health impacts. We have reasonably priced, proven technologies available to curtail the pollution heating up the planet. Finally, we just passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides $21.5 billion for the “development, demonstration, and deployment of clean energy technologies.”

There is nothing more important you can do right now than support these new standards on greenhouse gas emissions. Closing the Colstrip plants – or cutting emissions – will force NorthWestern Energy to drop their plan to keep the plants open until 2045. It will force them move to cheaper, cleaner energy.

Download our Guide to Commenting on EPA’s Carbon Emissions Standards (Word Document or PDF).

Here is a sample letter you can use.
Download (Word Document)
Download (PDF)

Thanks for your activism.

Jeff Smith, co-chair, 350 Montana