The operator and part-owner of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant agreed Monday to pay a $450,000 fine for violating federal emission standards at two of the plant’s units last year.
Talen Energy will pay the fine for violating mercury and air toxics standards in 2018. That’s according to a press release from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.
Chad Anderson, enforcement program manager with DEQ, says the corporation exceeded limits for particulate matter - or toxic dust - by 16 to 36 percent for almost 80 days.
He says Talen elected to put most of the $450,000 fine toward two projects in nearby communities.
“It’s something that they came to us and asked if they could mitigate a portion of the penalty by doing supplemental environmental projects, which DEQ does allow if it meets all the criteria within the supplemental environmental project policy,” he says.
$270,000 of the fine will purchase a street sweeper for the Northern Cheyenne tribe, and $103,000 will go toward a deicer storage building for the City of Colstrip.
In addition to paying the fine, Talen must continue mitigation, such as monthly emissions testing for at least a year and provide evidence that scrubbers on all four units are effectively removing particulate matter.
In an emailed statement, Talen public affairs manager Taryne Williams writes, “Talen Montana is committed to complying with all environmental regulations and obligations. The safe, reliable operation of Colstrip remains our top priority. ”