Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Pols Campaign For Colstrip In Washington State

Sen. Duane Ankney (R) SD20
Montana Legislature

On Wednesday four Montana state senators testified before a legislative committee in Washington state. They said that even a partial closure of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant that supplies electricity to Washington would raise power rates in both states and cause big job losses in Montana.

The Montana legislators — two Democrats and two Republicans — told their Washington state counterparts that a plan to limit coal usage would have profound impacts in both states.

Puget Sound Energy is facing growing environmental regulations and is considering decommissioning two of Colstrip’s units. PSE and Talen Energy co-own Colstrip units 1 and 2. Montana Republican Duane Ankney  of Colstrip conceded that those two units won’t be around forever.

"But I’m saying today that you need the power, we need time to plan what we’re going to do. And by golly, we’re neighbors. Remember, all this bill does is change the risk from the companies to the ratepayers. The big scope of the carbon thing, don’t make spit."

Montana Democrats Jim Kean and Cliff Larsen also supported keeping the Colstrip Units operating. Republican Rick Ripley of Wolf Creek pointed out coal’s importance to agriculture.

"Low cost, reliable electricity and pivots have allowed farmers and ranchers in both states to conserve water while increasing production of agriculture in mass amounts. Increased production contributes to low food prices, benefiting customers all over America.”

The Washington legislative committee took no action on the bill.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
Related Content