Colstrip gets $4.6 million in federal aid to retrain workers

HELENA (AP) — The U.S. government has awarded $4.6 million to the state of Montana to help retrain hundreds of coal workers who will soon be out of jobs because of a partial closure of the coal-fired Colstrip power plant.

Gov. Steve Bullock's office announced the aid package Tuesday and said $2 million of the money would be immediately available to begin workforce retraining.

The aid arrives months after a failed attempt by some legislators to require two power plant owners to compensate Colstrip and surrounding communities for economic losses when two of the plant's four units shut down by 2022.

The money is coming from a U.S. Department of Labor program for displaced workers.

While the focus is on Colstrip, the money could benefit 1,700 workers across 21 counties in eastern Montana.