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Settlement Calls For Coal Ash Cleanup At Colstrip

Coal ash waste at the Colstrip power plant.
Courtesy Alexis Bonogofsky - Montana Environmental Information Center
Coal ash waste at the Colstrip power plant.

Three environmental groups  settled their lawsuit from 2012 over coal ash pollution at the Colstrip power plant on Thursday.

The groups, represented by Earthjustice, sued Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the power plant’s multiple owners to stop wet ash disposal at Colstrip

JennyHarbineis anEarthjusticeattorney.

"This settlement will achieve resolution to a groundwater problem that has plagued the Colstrip area for decades," says Harbine.

In Thursday’s settlement, the plant’s owners agreed to convert to dry disposal of waste ash no later than 2022.

Talen Energy declined our interview request, but provided this statement.

Between now and 2022, the settlement requires Colstrip’s owners to develop a plan to clean up existing water contamination from wet coal ash disposal.  

The conservation groups also agreed to refrain from some future lawsuits. 

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.