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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Montana Pols To Stump For Colstrip In Washington State

Sen. Jim Keane (D) SD-38.
Montana Legislature
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The Washington state legislature is preparing to take up a bill that could close a portion of Montana’s Colstrip power plant. Today, Montana lawmakers voted to send two representatives to Olympia to try to save Colstrip.

The largest single owner of the Colstrip coal power plant is Puget Sound Energy, based in Washington. PSE is under pressure from Washington’s governor and state utility commission to reduce its reliance on coal based energy. A bill introduced this week in the Washington State Legislature could result in parts of Colstrip being closed.

Senator Jim Keane, a Butte Democrat, told other members of Montana's Environmental Quality Council that there’s a war over Montana’s coal based jobs.

“If we lose this battle with Washington - or if we lose this agreement with Washington would be a better way to put it - then we are going to have to come back as Montanans," Keane said. "I don’t want Washington to decide what the workers at Colstrip, in the mine and in the power plants, are going to get. I want Montanans to do that.”

Senator Keane and Wolf Creek Republican Senator Rick Ripley will travel to Washington to testify on the importance of the Colstrip plant to Montana’s workforce and economy.

The PSE bill could be heard in a Washington Senate committee as soon as this month.

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