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Colstrip co-owner offers $4.5M to help town move from coal

Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont.

One of the six owners of the Colstrip power plant is offering $4.5 million in transition funding to the Colstrip community in anticipation of the coal-fired plant shutting down.

The Billings Gazette reports that Colstrip Mayor John Williams agreed to the funding by Spokane, Washington-based Avista Corp., which is being bought by Hydro One of Ontario, Canada, for $5.3 billion.

The two older units of the power plant are scheduled to shut down by mid-2022.

Avista is a part owner in Colstrip's two newer power generating units, which are not yet scheduled to shut down. Avista officials and another owner, Puget Sound Energy, have said they would be financially ready to close down the plant by the end of 2027.

The Montana Public Service Commission is holding a hearing on the Avista-Hydro-One merger Thursday.

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