September 27, 2021

The Northwest Beyond Coal: The Fight to Close Colstrip

Event Details

Date & Time

Monday, Sep 27, 2021 6:00 PM - 7:15 PM

Event Link

Register required


Center for Climate, Society, and Environment






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Event Type & Tags

  • Global Impact

About This Event

Avista Utilities, Puget Sound Energy and four other northwest energy companies own the Colstrip coal plant in eastern Montana that has always been one of the top three – and sometimes #1 – climate polluter in the American West. After a 10-year campaign, the plant is on a path toward closure, eliminating up to 17 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, equal to the climate emissions of over three million cars. How did we get there? What can we learn?

The Colstrip campaign has commonalities with most climate campaigns. There are essential campaign approaches that must be followed in order to ensure we are effective in ending the climate crisis. This presentation uses the Colstrip campaign as a case study to help inform effective climate campaigns for the work that lies ahead.

About the speaker

Doug Howell has been a social and environmental advocate for 30 years. The majority of Doug’s professional career has focused on environmental issues, primarily global warming. In the 1980s in Washington, DC, Doug worked for U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) on environmental and other issues. In 1990, Doug worked for a law firm where his main client was the California Energy Commission (CEC). For next nine years, Doug worked for the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), where he created and directed their transportation and energy program. In 2000, Doug was hired by Seattle City Light to implement their first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas (GHG) neutral program. In 2004, Doug moved to King County to develop their climate protection program, including the first-in-the-nation long-term GHG reduction targets and implementation plan. In 2007, Doug was hired to run the Northwest regional office for the National Wildlife Federation where he managed staff, raised money and set the pathway for NWF’s future direction in the Northwest. In 2009, Doug joined the Sierra Club to run their Coal-Free Northwest campaign. In this capacity, Doug sets the priorities, develops the implementation plan, and coordinates organizational field staff, Sierra Club departments and external partners to make the Northwest the first coal-free region in the United States.