A new legal settlement gives more certainty to Portland General Electric's pledge to close its coal-fired plant in Eastern Oregon.

Portland General Electric's coal-fired Boardman Power Plant. It closed on Oct. 15, 2020.

PGE/Flickr

Oregon's only coal-fired power plant will have to run a little more cleanly, under a settlement announced Tuesday.

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Environmental groups filed suit in 2008, alleging the Boardman coal plant was violating the federal Clean Air Act. Since then, Portland General Electric committed to close Boardman by 2020, and install pollution controls in the meantime.

Michael Lang with Friends of the Columbia Gorge says the settlement further cuts pollution at the coal plant. And he says it clears up any possible doubt about whether the plant will close on time. Lang says he prefers the deal to a court victory.

"If we had won it all, we could’ve compelled PGE to install more pollution controls, but we could not have gotten to two and a half million dollars in environmental restoration funds," Lang said.

Lang is talking about money PGE is committing to habitat protection, clean energy, and air quality projects.

PGE says it won’t have to spend more than the 60 million dollars it’s already committed for pollution controls. But the utility will have to pay one million in legal fees.

(This first appeared on opbnews.org)

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