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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Coal & Oil Taxes On Tuesday's Legislative Agenda

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio

Tuesday at the Montana Legislature, one state legislator goes on the defensive to protect Colstrip power plants and the surrounding community. Senator Duane Ankney is from Colstrip and says House Bill 402 is meant to keep the coal-fired plants in business.

Recently, Washington’s state Senate passed a bill to research the effects of Washington utilities closing some coal-powered utilities including the Colstrip Generating Station, which is partially owned by Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy.

“They never even contacted our governor, or the legislature, or anyone to tell us they was proposing these bills.”

Ankney's bill would make a company pay if it retires a plant, with half of those payments going to Montana state coffers and the other half going to the plant's counties. Ankney says that would mean $44 million annually to Colstrip for 20 years.

“Fine. You want to play, you're gonna pay.”

The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. in the Capitol.

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