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Attorney General Added As Defendant In Colstrip Lawsuit

The majority owners of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant are suing Montana’s attorney general over new laws they say unconstitutionally affect private business.

The new laws set terms of arbitration and allow the attorney general to collect fines if a power plant owner fails to pay its share of power plant costs or withdraws from the plant without unanimous consent.

The Colstrip plant’s Pacific Northwest-based owners added the attorney general to their complaint against minority owners last week.

The owners are in dispute over some of the same issues the new Montana laws address.

The electric utilities based in Washington State and Oregon are following state policies that call for them to phase out coal generation by 2025 and 2030. NorthWestern Energy has said it will stay at Colstrip until at least 2042.

A spokesperson with the Attorney General’s Office says the Department of Justice had not received service of the lawsuit by Monday night.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.