The Olympia City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night urging Puget Sound Energy to shut down its portion of the Colstrip power plant in Montana by the year 2025.
The measure referenced the city’s “ongoing commitment to partnering to create a clean energy future,” in order to promote health and safety. Several Olympia residents attended Tuesday’s meeting and urged the council to support the resolution.
“Decarbonizing the electric grid that serves the Olympia community is likely to be a major contributor to the city’s ability to achieve its communitywide target of reducing the carbon pollution that is causing our current global warming crisis,” said Tom Crawford of the Thurston Climate Action Team.
Puget Sound Energy gets about 32 percent of its power from coal, according to a June 10 story in The Seattle Times. It holds a major stake in the Colstrip complex, which includes four separate units that can collectively generate up to 2,094 megawatts of power and are supplied with coal from the nearby Rosebud mine.
The Colstrip plant is the second-largest coal-powered plant west of the Mississippi River.
Many Pacific Northwest residents are actively engaged in fighting coal exports because of the environmental impacts, but are forced to financially support the Colstrip plant because Puget Sound Energy is their power supplier, said Kathleen Saul, who teaches in The Evergreen State College’s graduate program.
“While not in our backyards and not immediately visible to us, these coal plants are doing irreversible harm to the natural and human environments, too,” Saul said.
The Olympia City Council unanimously approved the resolution as part of its consent calendar, without debating the issue.