The Olympia City Council is exploring ways to urge Puget Sound Energy to stop using coal-fired generating plants in Colstrip, Montana.
PSE’s investment in Colstrip — one of the most polluted sites in the country — has long been under scrutiny by state energy regulators. PSE owns a 50 percent share of two Colstrip plants and about a 25 percent share of two more plants. The plants provide about a third of the electricity used by nearly 1.1 million PSE customers, according to the state.
The four Colstrip plants produce as much as 17 million tons of carbon emissions a year, which equals about half of all Washington passenger car emissions, according to the Sierra Club.
At its next regular meeting Sept. 1, the City Council will consider approving a letter that supports PSE’s transition from coal to a cleaner energy source.
The Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission regulates utilities like PSE and has launched an investigation into the costs related to the closure of the coal-fired plants. Mayor Stephen Buxbaum and Mayor Pro Tem Nathaniel Jones are pushing for the city to offer comment as part of that process.
“This is really about our city’s goals and principles in terms of climate change,” Buxbaum told the council Tuesday during a study session.
Tuesday’s council study session also addressed the city’s Action Plan, which is defined as “a road map for what we as a community will do to accomplish our comprehensive plan goals,” according to senior planner Stacey Ray.
The comprehensive plan outlines the city’s goals and vision for the next 20 years. An updated version of the plan was approved last December after more than five years of revisions.
Public feedback on the plan has highlighted interest in areas including resources for the homeless, bike corridors, population growth, economic development in downtown Olympia, climate change and more.
City staff will revise the action plan before bringing it back to the council in January for approval.