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Mon Dec 21, 2020, 06:53 AM

Gazette opinion: Make owners clean up Colstrip right

The owners of Colstrip Power Plant are complaining that the cleanup plan selected by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for the facility’s coal ash waste is unrealistic and the required $285 million cleanup bond “grossly excessive.”

When the Colstrip Power Plant was originally permitted in the 1970s, the permit directed that the ponds used for storage of coal ash, the power plants’ waste product, must be “completely sealed” in a “closed loop system” — a “zero discharge facility.”

That admonition has long been ignored, and the bill is coming due.

After forty years of operation, the plant has produced 6.7 million cubic yards of coal ash, and leakage from the huge ponds covering more than 800 acres is estimated at 400,000 gallons of contaminated water per day. An enormous underground plume of contamination is growing by the day.

Read more: https://billingsgazette.com/opinion/editorial/gazette-opinion-make-owners-clean-up-colstrip-right/article_89e302a3-7e48-5129-b347-96aadef87bd2.html

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