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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Colstrip Closure, Water Rights On The Agenda At The Montana Legislature

Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio
Montana Capitol.

The Colstrip Power Plant and water rights are shaping up to be big natural resource issues for the 2017 Legislative session.

Republican Senator Chas Vincent of Libby is the chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. It meets for the first time Wednesday:

"It’s good for everybody to understand each other and what they bring to the table as far as experience, and knowledge, and passion," says Vincent.

Both he and Democratic Representative Zach Brown of Bozeman — who is the ranking member on the House committee — say the partial closure of the Colstrip Power Plant will be a priority.

"We have a robust discussion ahead of us about how to really take care of that community, help them pivot towards the future," Brown says.

They also agree that water rights will be a notable topic in the 2017 session. Senator Vincent is carrying Senate Bill 28, which would expand jurisdiction of the water court, and clarify the duties of chief and associate water judges.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

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