Montana Public Radio

Jim Keane

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

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.

Lawmakers are evaluating proposals to improve irrigation, water and sewer systems. It’s the beginning of the process to decide which infrastructure projects are funded.

House Minority Leader Jenny Eck speaks in support of Democratic proposals to fund state infrastructure during a press conference in the Capitol, Tuesday, January 3, 2017.
Corin Cates-Carney

The fight over infrastructure projects is beginning to brew in the Montana Legislature. On day two of the session, Democratic leaders pushed forward with the governor’s plan for big ticket construction projects like roads, bridges, schools and capital projects, even though they admit Republicans will likely dismantle parts of it.

Today Montana’s Supreme Court denied a request from unions and lawmakers to find unconstitutional a ballot initiative that aims to create funding for brain research.

Days after I-181 qualified for the general election ballot in July, Montana AFL-CIO, Montana Taxpayers Association and several state legislators, on both sides of the aisle, asked the court to not allow the initiative to go to vote this November.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Montana’s Environmental Quality Council heard about a potential legislative response to the pending partial closure of the Colstrip power plant.

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.

Permit Denied For Gateway Pacific Coal Terminal In Washington
Clay Scott

As Montana and dozens of other states sue over the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, some pro-coal Montana lawmakers asked for input from a lawyer with some experience challenging Environmental Protection Agency rules.

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

Today, some Montana lawmakers said that the state legislature needs to get more involved in the fight against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

A pile of coal.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

Washington and Oregon are considering cutting ties with Montana coal.

Wednesday, Montana’s Environmental Quality Council spoke with legislators from the West Coast states who are drafting bills that could shut down at least part of the coal plant in Colstrip.

Sen. Jim Keane (D) SD-38.
Montana Legislature

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.