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EPA announces Clean Air Act agreement regarding Montana Power Plant

Release Date: 03/19/2007
Contact Information: David Rochlin, 303-312-6892, rochlin.david@epa.gov; Betsy Wahl, 406-457-5013, wahl.betsy@epa.gov

(Denver, Colo. - March 19, 2007) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and six electric utility companies operating in Montana have reached an agreement to resolve alleged excess emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the coal-fired Colstrip Power Plant near Colstrip, Mont. A consent decree was lodged today with the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana. A notice of settlement will be published in the Federal Register, which will begin a 30-day public comment period.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Avista Corporation, NorthWestern Corporation, PPL Montana, LLC, PacifiCorp, Portland General Electric Company and Puget Sound Energy, Inc., will pay a $50,000 civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury and will implement a residential energy efficiency project valued at $100,000 on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. The settlement will require Colstrip Units 3 and 4 to reduce NOx emissions by approximately 55 percent, a reduction of more than 14,000 tons per year.

    "This settlement will significantly reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides from this plant and greatly improve visibility on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Southeastern Montana.," said Granta Nakayama, Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "We are committed to ensuring compliance with the Clean Air Act so that the environmental and public health benefits expected from the Act are achieved."

    Emissions of NOx can cause the formation of haze, which reduces visibility. The companies estimate that achieving the reductions they've agreed to will cost approximately $29 million.

    "This settlement will ultimately result in one of the largest reductions of NOx emissions ever realized in this region. This is a great example of what we can accomplish when a Tribe, federal agencies and electric utility companies all work together toward a common goal," said Robert E. Roberts, EPA's Region 8 Administrator.