Yesterday, state Rep. Mark Liias (D-21, Edmonds) introduced the TransAlta bill—phasing out coal at the TransAlta plant by 2015.
According to the Sightline Institute's Daily Score Blog, the bill attempts to limit any adverse environmental and economic effects of the plant's closing:
HB1825 devotes significant attention - and dollars - to what happens in the community after TransAlta stops burning coal there.
The legislation would require TransAlta to pay into a trust a "decommissioning fee" of $1 per megawatt hour of coal-fired energy produced, which is expected to generate about $9 million a year. That money would go towards cleaning up the site (creating jobs in the process) and making it usable for other business ventures. An advisory board - appointed by the governor and representing plant workers, economic development groups and other local interests - would oversee the cleanup plan and work. Finally, the legislation would steer public facility and economic development funds to competitive projects in Lewis County.
The Daily Score also points out that the TransAlta coal plant ships most of its 1100 megawatts of electricity out of the state. The effect on the state grid would therefore be minimal. TransAlta would be allowed to continue operating its more environmentally friendly natural gas-fired plant for the foreseeable future.