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What To Do About Retiring Coal Plants

Cut Out From Rocky Mountain Power's Presentation On Its Integrated Resource Plan
Rocky Mountain Power

More and more coal-fired power plants are setting retirement dates and the next steps for them are unclear. The Senate Minerals committee heard a bill attempting to deal with these power plants. It aims to create a process allowing decommissioned plants to continue under new ownership.

Afton Senator Dan Dockstader, the bill's sponsor, said the bill supports communities that rely on functioning coal plants despite more and more planning to close down. He points specifically to Rocky Mountain Power's Integrated Resource Planpresentation looking at retirements.

"We have to move this forward rather than to sit back and say, 'Well, we can't do anything.' This is truly what this comes down to is just simply trying to save jobs in Wyoming and save Wyoming communities," Dockstader said.

But the length and complexity of the bill this late in the legislature left speakers with a lot of questions. Several utilities said they could only support it with broad changes. Laramie Senator Chris Rothfuss said he likes the general idea but isn't sure what it does.

"Honestly, there are so many unanswered questions for me that I really would like to focus on this problem in the interim rather than trying to put forward legislation over the next few days," he said, echoing what several lobbyists had encouraged.

Rothfuss said he wants to know the environmental considerations of continuing work at a decommissioned facility. The committee agreed to get as much done as it could by this Friday and then discuss whether it's possible to move the bill forward this session.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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