SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A bill that would authorize the state's largest utility to create a fund to pay for the eventual shutdown of two coal-fired power plants in Montana has easily passed the Washington State Senate. Senate Bill 6248 passed by a vote of 42-7 on Wednesday and now heads to the House for consideration. The bill was amended to remove any provisions calling for the closure of two older coal-fired plants located in the company town of Colstrip, Montana. Bill sponsor Sen. Doug Erickson, R-Ferndale, said the measure now simply authorizes Puget Sound Energy to fund a "retirement account" to cover future decommissioning and remediation costs of the power plants, but only if they are closed after 2023.

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