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Power Plant Pollution

Billings, MT: (May-02-08) 57 plaintiffs, including some plant workers, brought a water contamination lawsuit against eastern Montana's Colstrip power plant, claiming that the plant was contaminating water supplies beneath at least one Colstrip subdivision for years before notifying the community.

The suit, filed in 2003 named PPL Montana, Puget Sound Energy, Portland General Electric, Avista Corp., and PacifiCorp as defendants. Sources said that the corporations jointly own the 2,100 megawatt plant, which is operated by PPL Montana to generate electricity for West Coast markets. The suit indicated that the contamination came from pollutants removed from the power plant's smokestacks to meet clean air requirements. At least two of the holding ponds where that waste was kept leaked. It also stated that the contamination was reported nearly four years after it occurred. The plaintiffs said that though no sicknesses resulted from the contamination, several homeowners and the Colstrip Moose Lodge lost use of their underground wells.

As part of a settlement reached in the case, the plant's five corporate owners have agreed to pay $25 million to settle the case. Records show that PPL Montana bought into the plant in 1999 when it acquired the Montana Power Co., two years after the contamination problems emerged publicly. [SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER: $25 MILLION SETTLEMENT REACHED IN COLSTRIP LAWSUIT]

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Published on May-6-08


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