In late 2020, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality was tasked to finalize plans for the cleanup of Colstrip’s coal ash ponds which leak 183 million gallons of contaminated water each year. This document provides information about this process including data about the job creation potential of a “high and dry” cleanup approach that involves excavation of the ash ponds. It also provides information about the danger this contamination presents to ranchers and others who rely on local groundwater, making responsible cleanup imperative to the long-term health of the community.
We know from our research that thorough coal ash cleanup (“high and dry”) is the best way to permanently address groundwater contamination. We also know this type of cleanup creates more jobs than simply leaving it in place (“cap-in-place”). But how many jobs does it create…and how much does it cost? Using data from Montana-licensed economists, hydrologists, and engineers, Doing it Right II: Job Creation through Colstrip cleanup provides answers to those questions. Here’s an overview.