Judge temporarily blocks law to prevent power plant closure

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Montana law that sought to prevent the closure of a coal-fired power plant by requiring its outgoing owners to pay for long-term maintenance and operating costs. U.S. District Judge Susan Watters said Wednesday the law is likely unconstitutional. The law said if a co-owner refuses to share in the operating costs or takes actions that lead to the closure of an electrical generation facility without the consent of all the co-owners, it would be considered an “unfair or deceptive trade practice.” The Washington- and Oregon-based co-owners of the Colstrip Power Plant face a phase-out of the use of coal-fired power.