Hot Topic: Closing Colstrip Coal
ICL is concerned about the impact of coal power on climate change. Idaho imports about half of our electricity from coal power plants in neighboring states. One of the largest is the Colstrip plant in Montana. Avista, a utility serving communities in North Idaho, owns a portion of this plant. Because Colstrip is dirty and expensive, ICL is asking Avista to exit the plant and transition to clean energy.
We have a unique opportunity. Hydro One, a major utility in Quebec, is purchasing Avista. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission must approve this deal. ICL is a party to the case where we will seek:
- A commitment to exit Colstrip within 10 years
- Increased funding for energy conservation programs
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ICL’s Climate Work
Idaho’s climate is changing. Stories from farmers, ranchers, scientists and everyday Idahoans all describe how the patterns of hot and cold, wet and dry, are different today than decades ago. Scientists all agree that human pollution is altering the chemistry of our atmosphere and trapping more of the sun’s heat.
Idaho researchers document that a warming climate is moving the timing of seasons—winter is shorter and summer is longer. This change means precipitation is more likely to be rain instead of the snowpack that traditionally supplies 85% of the water Idahoans rely upon in summer months. Hot, dry summers mean more frequent and severe wildfires.
ICL is expanding our climate work to address these threats to Idaho’s iconic flora, fauna and landscapes. Our first priority is to protect these values from the inevitable impacts of climate change.
ICL is protecting Idaho by:
- Protecting landscapes through wilderness designations and creating refugia for wildlife and fish
- Working in forest collaboratives to connect protected lands and waters and allow wildlife and fish to migrate in response to climate
- Addressing growing fire threats by finding common ground on appropriate forestry projects
- Monitoring and challenging other stresses on the landscape like mines and unnecessary development.
ICL’s second priority is to stop further harm by removing fossil fuels from Idaho’s energy system.
ICL is changing Idaho’s energy system by:
- Advocating for utility and government incentives for energy conservation
- Engaging with utility planners and regulators to replace coal power with clean energy
- Supporting the right of all Idahoans to meet energy needs with distributed solar power
- Asking cities to adopt conservation and clean energy standards
- Encouraging individuals and businesses to conserve energy
What You Can Do
Protecting Idaho from climate change requires everyone to take action. We ask you to consider acting in three ways.
At home and work
- Lights are a major energy user—switch to LED blubs and flip off switches in empty rooms.
- Heating and cooling uses a lot of energy—set thermostats just a couple of degrees to save lots of energy in winter and summer.
- Plug electronics into power strips and turn them off when not in use.
- Purchase energy star labeled appliance.
In your community
- Encourage friends, family, and coworkers to take the actions above.
- Ask your city to adopt strong building energy use codes.
Influence decision makers
- Join ICL’s Energy News (sign up for email alerts at the top of the page) and speak up when opportunities arise.
- Tell your elected officials you support conservation and clean energy