The NW Energy Coalition has joined a variety of environmental advocates, utilities, and business groups in opposing a Montana senate bill that would discourage all kinds of energy development in the state and clean energy development in particular.
In response to the planned shut down of two coal-fired power units and the Colstrip power plant, state senator Jim Ankney has proposed a reparations bill that has already passed the Montana senate.
Senate bill 283 would recover some legitimate closure costs from Colstrip’s owner, Puget Sound Energy, but it would also require the utility to compensate the state and community for costs that are far beyond of those that businesses can fairly be asked to bear, such as compensation for declines in residential property values that may result because of the loss of jobs. At the same time, the bill fails to address problems that should be the responsibility of Colstrip’s owners, such as the need to remediate pollution of the town’s aquifer by leakage from the plant’s coal ash ponds.
For more detail, see this op-ed, which is running in multiple Montana newspapers. It is authored by NW Energy Coalition senior policy associate Diego Rivas.