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WildEarth Guardians Reaches Western Colorado Clean Air and Clean Energy Agreement

Settlement With Tri-State Generation and Transmission Opens Door for Transition from Coal

Denver—A major agreement announced today between WildEarth Guardians, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and the owners of the Yampa Project at Craig Station, National Parks Conservation Association, Colorado, and the Environmental Protection Agency promises certainty for western Colorado’s clean air and energy future.

“With today’s agreement, Tri-State is taking a leading step forward in advancing clean energy for western Colorado and beyond,” said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program Director. “We applaud their commitment to protecting the air we breathe and charting a healthier and more sustainable future for us all.”

As part of the agreement, Tri-State is committing to retire coal-fired power generation in the western Colorado towns of Craig and Nucla. The company has agreed to retire one of three generating units at its Craig coal-fired power plant by the end of 2025 and to retire its Nucla power plant (and associated coal mine) by the end of 2022.

In total, more than 520 megawatts of coal-fired power generation will be retired to make way for cleaner and more affordable sources of electricity. The move will eliminate more than five million tons of carbon pollution every year, equal to taking around one million cars off the road, and eliminate around 7,000 tons of haze and smog forming emissions. 

Tri-State is also committing to meet stronger emission limits to protect air quality in the years leading up to the retirements.

“With the costs and uncertainties around coal continuing to mount, today’s agreement charts a better path forward,” said Nichols. “Today’s agreement represents a shared commitment from us all to help make Colorado and the American West healthier, cleaner, and more prosperous.” 

Today’s agreement modifies an earlier legal settlement reached with WildEarthGuardians and National Parks Conservation Association in 2014, where Tri-State agreed to upgrade pollution controls at its Craig coal-fired power plant in order to reduce haze pollution in National Parks and Wilderness Areas. 

The modified settlement will ultimately be approved through future state and federal proceedings.


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