Retirement Plan Set For Last Coal Plant In Washington CENTRALIA, Wash. – Factions that were once at war over greenhouse gas pollution applauded side-by-side today in Centralia, Washington Friday. The occasion was the signing of a bill to phase out coal at the big power plant there. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.
NPR logo Retirement Plan Set For Last Coal Plant In Washington

Retirement Plan Set For Last Coal Plant In Washington

Retirement Plan Set For Last Coal Plant In Washington

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Retirement Plan Set For Last Coal Plant In Washington

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File photo of the TransAlta coal plant in Centralia. hide caption

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042911TB_NoCoal.wav :48 spot 4/29/11 Tom Banse/CF Energy

CENTRALIA, Wash. – Factions that were once at war over greenhouse gas pollution applauded side-by-side today in Centralia, Washington Friday. The occasion was the signing of a bill to phase out coal at the big power plant there.

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Centralia is home to the larger of the two coal-burning power plants in the Northwest. Previously, Portland General Electric agreed to shut down the other one in Boardman by 2020. Now the TransAlta coal power plant in Centralia also has a fixed retirement date.

Compromise clean air legislation signed by Governor Chris Gregoire requires a partial shutdown by 2020... and no coal use at all by 2025.

Chris Gregoire: "Everybody wanted to shut down coal today. If we had, we would have put all these people out of work, devastated the economy of this community and put the power grid in deep trouble."

TransAlta's president and CEO says his company may build a replacement plant fueled by natural gas at the site and possibly invest in wind power elsewhere in the Northwest.

On the Web:

TransAlta Centralia Operations: http://www.transalta.com/communities/centralia

Bill phasing out coal plants (SB 5769):

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5769&year=2011

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network