MTPR

Colstrip Power Plant

KEVIN TREVELLYAN / MONTANA PUBLIC RADIO

Rich Trumka, the president of the country’s largest union federation, the AFL-CIO, was in Montana for the state’s convention in Missoula last week. The federation represents many workers in Montana’s troubled coal industry. 

Trumka is a third-generation miner. The Pennsylvania native can’t accept that workers, like those in Colstrip, are getting squeezed out of their jobs.

2019 Montana lobbying spending.
Cassidy Alexander, via Datawrapper / Montana Public Radio

At least $6.5 million dollars was spent on lobbying during the state’s 2019 legislative session. That’s according to the spending reports that groups trying to influence state lawmakers are legally required to file.

Montana Public Radio dug into the reports, which this year got harder for the public to make sense of.

Spending to influence Montana laws and elections.
National Institute on Money in Politics

At least $6.5 million was spent on lobbying efforts during Montana’s 2019 legislative session.

That’s more than two and a half times as much as legislative candidates have raised on their election campaigns annually in recent years.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Units 1 and 2 of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip will permanently close at the end of this year. Plant operator Talen Energy made that announcement in a press release Tuesday, saying the company has been unsuccessful in making the units economically viable. Talen says the plant’s newer units, 3 and 4, will remain open.

NorthWestern Energy building in Butte, Montana.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Environmental advocacy groups and the state’s largest utility company are arguing over how much customers should pay for power coming from the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip.

For the first time in 10 years Montana regulators are revisiting NorthWestern Energy’s ownership at Colstrip in a big picture look at how much the company earns and charges its customers.

'Capitol Talk': Legislature Wraps-Up; Campaign Season Heats Up

Apr 26, 2019

Tonight on Capitol Talk: Big bills that passed, and ones that didn't; the split in the Republican party — and its consequences; Gov. Bullock's pending big announcement; and Attorney General Tim Fox's fondness for chicken.

Montana State Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Legislature is in a holding pattern entering the final days of the session as behind the scenes deals are being worked out in rooms at the state Capitol.

Lawmakers are attempting to advance politically contentious policies over preschool funding and the  future of Colstrip as time in the 2019 legislative session runs out.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas (R) - Stevensville
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

The bill to continue Medicaid expansion in Montana passed out of the state Senate Tuesday after teetering on the edge of a deadline for end of session negotiations.

The reauthorization of the health coverage program for low-income adults, packaged with new work and public service requirements for certain enrollees, passed 28-22 in its final Senate vote.

Updated and expanded 6:40 p.m.

A bill to continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion program has passed a critical vote in the Senate by a one vote margin. The  26-24 vote Monday afternoon lifted House Bill 658 from its multi-day stall ahead of a Tuesday deadline for bills to pass. That means the bill faces one more Senate vote Tuesday.

House Advances 'Save Colstrip' Bill

Apr 15, 2019
Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R) - Billings, is carrying Senate Bill 331 as it moves through the House. He said after an amendment restored oversight to the Public Service Commission, the bill became more palatable for lawmakers.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA -- The Montana House of Representatives on Monday advanced legislation known as the “Save Colstrip” bill, which would incentivize NorthWestern Energy to buy more shares of Colstrip’s coal-fired power plant.

Pages