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Three BH Power coal plants shutting down

PIERRE — Rather than pay for environmental upgrades, Black Hills Power is shutting three of its coal-fired electricity generation plants.

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The closure costs and the unrecovered investments in the plants will be submitted with the next round of rate increases the Rapid City-based company will seek from South Dakota customers.

That is expected in the coming months.

A company official explained the plans Tuesday to South Dakota regulators.

He said new air-quality regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would require adding expensive equipment now, followed by tougher rules in the next decade that would cost the company more to comply.

Being taken out of commission are the Ben French plant in Pennington County, opened in 1960, and two others in Wyoming: the Neil Simpson I plant in Campbell County, which went into service in 1969, and the Osage plant in Weston County, which opened in 1952.