Puget Sound Energy

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Puget Sound Energy (PSE) "is Washington state's largest and oldest energy utility, serving more than 1 million electric customers and approximately 718,000 natural gas customers, primarily in the vibrant Puget Sound region." [1]

PSE relies on coal-fired energy generation for 36% of its power supply fuel mix. PSE is Washington State's largest consumer of coal power and was responsible for approximately 58% of the state's coal power consumption in 2008.[2] According to 2009 documents submitted to the state, the utility intends to continue the same level of coal usage for the next 10 years with the eventual plan to begin decreasing its coal usage in 2019 with a final phase out of coal power in 2026.[3]

Colstrip in Montana

In August 2009, PSE released its energy plan that was criticized by the Sierra Club and others for continuing its business-as-usual approach by promoting the use of coal-generated power. Approximately two-thirds of PSE's coal power comes from the Colstrip Steam Plant in eastern Montana. PSE’s use of energy from Colstrip resulted in 6.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2008.[3]

In 1977 Colstrip was equipped with scrubbers which reduced its sulfur dioxide output. However, critics of the plant note that the burners still turn out massive amounts of carbon dioxide. According to a 2009 report by Environment America, "America's Biggest Polluters," the Colstrip Steam Plant is the ninth dirtiest plant in the nation, releasing 19.3 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2007. Ranking is based upon Environmental Protection Agency data.[4] Additionally, the facility's coal ash pond has caused extensive damage and the owners were forced to pay $25 million in the Spring of 2008 to 57 local residents. Entire aquifers in the area have been polluted.[5]

Montana ranchers near Colstrip will sue over coal mining impacts

Ranchers near Colstrip, Montana say their livelihoods are threatened by pollution and disrupted water-flows associated with nearby coal mines. Ranchers, including Doug McRae, say that they have attempted to get the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to address their issues, to which they have not been assisted. As such, a group of ranchers has teamed up with conservationists to file a notice of intent to sue. The notice, filed on September 20, 2011 charges that the DEQ has neglected to protect streams and rivers from coal mining throughout Montana. From the date of the filing, the DEQ has 60 days to begin addressing the water quality and supply impacts caused by mining operations or it will face a lawsuit from conservationists on behalf of ranchers.[6]

Executive Officers

Accessed December 2007: [7]


Accessed December 2007: [8]


Web: http://www.pse.com

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Corporate Overview, Puget Sound Energy, accessed December 11, 2007.
  2. "Energy Supply: Electricity - Power Supply Profile" PSE, accessed September 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Puget Sound Energy's new energy plan disappoints: Sierra Club calls on the utility to speed up coal replacement," Sierra Club, August 8, 2009.
  4. "America's Biggest Polluters: Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants in 2007" Environment America, November 24, 2009
  5. ", Kristen Lombardi, The Center for Public Integrity, February 19, 2009.
  6. "Montana ranchers say they’ll sue over coal mine impacts" Summit Voice, SummitCountyVoice.com, September 21, 2011.
  7. Executive Officers, Puget Sound Energy, accessed December 11, 2007.
  8. Directors, Puget Sound Energy, accessed December 11, 2007.