Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal power plant in Colstrip, Montana, in 2013. The plant’s operator said Tuesday that it plans to shut down two of the plant’s four units about 2½ years early, citing costs and the unwillingness of a coal supplier to lower costs. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown ,File)

Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal power plant in Colstrip, Montana, in 2013. The plant’s operator said Tuesday that it plans to shut down two of the plant’s four units about 2½ years early, citing costs and the unwillingness of a coal supplier to lower costs. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown ,File)

Operator: 2 units of Montana coal plant to close this year

Demand for coal is dropping as utilities turn to cheap natural gas and renewable energy,

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