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Two Bills Aim To Bring Stability To Colstrip

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO
Colstrip power plant, Montana

Two bills introduced today in the Montana Legislature hope to bring some stability to the community and workers in Colstrip. Both were a result of bipartisan work done in the legislative interim, after plant owners settled a lawsuit with environmental groups, agreeing to shut down two of Colstrip’s four units by 2022.

One of the bills would fund a task force to study how best to protect benefits and retirement plans for workers whose jobs might be at risk when plant operators leave the state. The second bill would fund the Governor’s office and the Department of Justice to participate in out-of-state utility and regulatory meetings, where major operators of Colstrip are located.

The bills, sponsored by Democrat Jim Keane from Butte, got their first hearing in the House Energy, Technology, and Federal Relations committee. Representative Duane Ankney, a Republican from Colstrip, will also propose legislation in the coming weeks aiming to protect the town after several of its major employers leave.

Corin Cates-Carney is the news director at Montana Public Radio. He joined MTPR in 2015 and is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism.
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