What would the economy of Montana look like if Colstrip Steam Electric Station did not exist? It is a hypothetical question – the facility has been in full operation for more than 20 years. Yet in a policy and political environment where the contributions of the plant to the state economy are poorly understood or perhaps taken for granted, it deserves to be carefully analyzed and answered.
This report, prepared by University of Montana economists, examines the contribution made to both the economy of eastern Montana as well as to the state economy as a whole by the Colstrip generating facility. The report explores the facility's economic impacts of new jobs, wages and other compensation, and state and local taxes, as well as the positive social benefits on Colstrip's people and families.
The study has revealed the footprint of this single facility occupying less than three square miles in Rosebud County in eastern Montana to be substantial.
It concludes that the following exist because of the plant's operations:
• 3,740 jobs, including 2,688 private sector jobs
• More than $360 million of personal income received by Montanans
• $638 million in net output produced in Montana
• More than 7,700 additional people
To state it another way, without Colstrip, the economy around us would be smaller, less prosperous, and less populous by these same amounts.