MT Governor seeks investigation of former plant owner

Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Thursday asked the state attorney general to investigate whether the former owner of a power plant near Thompson Falls deceived regulators last fall to avoid paying more than $1 million in fines.

The governor’s request follows accusations by two environmental groups and others that former Thompson River Co-gen co-owner Barry Bates provided false or misleading information to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

In a letter to the governor this week, the Clark Fork Coalition, the Montana Environmental Information Center and more than a dozen Sanders County residents alleged that Bates wasn’t forthcoming about the company’s financial situation and its plans to sell the troubled plant to an investment firm.

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