Washington’s legislature has passed a bill that would allow the state’s largest utility to create a fund to pay for the eventual shutdown of two coal-powered electricity plants in Montana.

In a devastating report released just prior to the vote, director of resource planning analysis with the institute for energy economics, David Schissler told the legislature that the Colstrip units would eventually have to be decommissioned.

"Our conclusion is that market and economic forces are relentlessly, you might say inexorably against the operation of Colstrip units One and Two," Schissler said. "We believe that retirement is inevitable."

Schissler said Colstrip units 3 and 4 are also a bad investment for the future..

"We also believe they should be looking for alternatives to Colstrip Unit Three, and reevaluating the financial liability of all of Colstrip, even Unit Four," he continued. "The same market and economic forces that are hurting the viability of Units One and Two are also affecting Units Three and Four."

The bill would let Puget Sound Energy put money aside to cover future decommissioning and remediation costs of the power plants in Colstrip, Montana, if they’re closed after 2023. The utility owns half of Colstrip units 1 and 2.

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM