Federal officials say retrofitting the Colstrip power plant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would cost at least $1.2 billion, but that price tag could be at least partially offset by selling captured carbon dioxide for use in oil fields.  Senior U.S. Department of Energy representatives presented the agency’s carbon reduction analysis of the Colstrip plant on Wednesday at the request of Gov. Steve Bullock.

Colstrip is the state’s primary man-made source of carbon dioxide pollution, a major contributor to climate change.  Bullock faces Republican criticism for not doing enough to protect the aging plant, as a shift toward natural gas and more pollution regulations have battered the coal industry.  Bullock, who’s seeking reelection, met with coal mining executives in Helena to hear the Energy Department findings.  The plant emitted about 16.5 million tons of carbon dioxide — two-thirds of the state’s reported total in 2014, according to the EPA.

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