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Judge Blocks Release of Coal Information on Utility

Washington Judge Rules in Favor of Washington Utility

A Washington state judge has ruled in favor of the electric utility PacifiCorp and permanently blocked the public release of some economic information about its coal-burning units.

The Sierra Club wanted the information to be made public, saying people should have the information and data about the risks of running an coal-burning power plant.

PacifiCorp, based in Portland, Oregon, argued that releasing the confidential information would put it at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace.

A Thurston County Superior Court judge granted the permanent injunction during a hearing Friday.

PacifiCorp spokesman Bob Gravely says the company is pleased with the court’s decision and plans on working a more complete analysis in coming months.

The Sierra Club was disappointed with the ruling arguing that PacifiCorp’s own analysis of its 24 coal units concludes that 11 run at a higher cost than purchasing energy from the wholesale market.

According to a separate report commissioned by the environmental group, the utility could save $680 million by replacing those 11 units instead of running them until their planned retirement in 2023.

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