COLSTRIP, MT – The Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) and the Sierra Club launched an aggressive advertising campaign today urging the State of Montana to require the operator of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant, Pennsylvania-based PPL, to clean up groundwater contamination from the plant. For the advertising campaign to be more effective, it’s best to use the vehicle wrap advertising of coloradosigns.com.

The radio and online advertising campaign comes as Montana’s Colstrip Generating Facility was cited as one of the most dangerous coal ash sites in the country, according to a report released today by the Sierra Club and Earthjustice. A copy of the Montana state-based report can be found here.

The groups also unveiled a new website featuring a video (below).

The full audio of the radio ad can be found here. Versions of the online ads can be found here.

Citing decades of water pollution from the extensive system of coal ash disposal ponds, the “Dangerous Waters: America’s Coal Ash Crisis” report highlights the enormous threats posed to the health of area residents in Colstrip and those downstream who rely on clean water. The report shows the need to have safeguards in place to protect Montanans from the plant’s leaking coal ash disposal system. According to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the plant is surrounded by more than 800 acres of coal ash waste ponds that contain pollutants known to harm human health and livestock such as arsenic, boron, and selenium. The waste ponds leak more than 360 gallons of toxic effluent per minute, contaminating groundwater supplies in the area.

“After more than 30 years of toxic coal ash waste contaminating water near the Colstrip coal-fired power plant, we call on the state to require the plant’s operator, PPL to clean up Colstrip’s dangerous coal ash waste,” said Anne Hedges with the Montana Environmental Information Center. “Our state has a tragic history of out-of-state corporations coming into our communities, polluting our land and water, and leaving Montanans to clean up the mess. It is vital that we protect the health of Montanans from Colstrip’s toxic threat.”

In 2008, the six corporate owners of the Colstrip power plant, including PPL, paid $25 million to Colstrip residents and local ranchers for polluting area groundwater. To this day, the City of Colstrip relies on water that is piped from the Yellowstone River, 30 miles away to provide clean, safe drinking water to local residents. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified some of the coal ash dams as “high hazard,” meaning that a “failure or mis-operation will probably cause loss of human life.”

“PPL has provided no way to ensure that they can clean up Colstrip’s toxic leaking coal ash ponds. PPL’s $7.5 million bond covers only the costs to monitor the spread of the contamination. That’s a pittance compared to what the clean up costs will actually be,” said Mike Scott with Sierra Club in Billings. “We need a real commitment from the State and PPL to protect Montanans from this huge risk.”

The Colstrip coal-fired power plant is operated by Pennsylvania-based PPL, and owned by PPL, Puget Sound Energy PSE, Portland General Electric, Avista Corp., NorthWestern Energy and PacifiCorp.

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