Colstrip Power Plant

The outside of the NorthWestern Energy building in Butte, Montana.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s largest electricity provider on Tuesday announced it plans to buy a larger share of the Colstrip power plant a day after protesters rallied the company to increase its renewable energy portfolio.

Blakc coal
bartb_pt / Flickr

The Rosebud Mine on Thursday announced it’s renewed a contract to supply Colstrip power plant Units 3 and 4 with coal until 2025.

The power plant in the distance.
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio


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. 

Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

Amid constantly changing closure dates for a power plant majority owned by out-of-state companies, a town that found success through coal is coming to terms with the plant’s partial retirement. Kayla Desroches spent a day in Colstrip in southeast Montana to talk with some of the people who live and work in the community.

Jackie Yamanaka / Yellowstone Public Radio

One of the owners of the Colstrip power plant Thursday agreed to financially withdraw by 2025.

Jackie Yamanaka / Yellowstone Public Radio

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on a proposal to remediate pollution from wastewater facilities at Units 1 and 2 at the Colstrip Steam Electric Station.

Jackie Yamanaka / Yellowstone Public Radio

Talen Energy is proposing to install more wells to flush out and capture underground water reserves that were polluted by coal ash dumped into leaky holding ponds at eastern Montana's Colstrip power plant.

Solar Farm
Michael Mees / Flickr CC BY 2.0

The Northern Cheyenne Nation received a $2 million dollar federal grant this summer to build a new solar farm. It’s part of the Tribe’s decision to invest in renewable energy over mining their rich coal deposits.

Jackie Yamanaka / Yellowstone Public Radio

In the wake of Talen Energy’s announcement that it plans to close units 1 and 2 at the Colstrip Power Plant by the end of the year - 3 years earlier than planned - NorthWestern Energy Wednesday warned Montana legislators of the potential for power shortages and higher electric bills. Green energy advocates pushed back against the dire outlook.

Rich Trumka, the president of the country’s largest union federation, the AFL-CIO, was in Montana for the state’s convention in Missoula last week. The federation represents many workers in Montana’s troubled coal industry. 

Trumka is a third-generation miner. The Pennsylvania native can’t accept that workers, like those in Colstrip, are getting squeezed out of their jobs.