Current, former Montana regulators lobby against state legislation to support Colstrip coal plant

first_imgCurrent, former Montana regulators lobby against state legislation to support Colstrip coal plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Great Falls Tribune:Eight former Montana Public Service Commissioners from both sides of the political spectrum, and two current commissioners, sent a letter to state lawmakers Wednesday saying they “share grave concerns about a senate bill” involving the Colstrip coal-fed power plant, saying it strips commissioners of their authority.“SB 331 is a dangerous bill that sets a perilous precedent. We are united in urging members of the Montana State Legislature and Governor Bullock to reject this attempt to take over the most important function of the Montana Public Service Commission – protecting Montanans,” the commissioners wrote in a letter dated April 9 sent electronically to the Great Falls Tribune.It was written as “An Open Letter to Montana State Legislators and Governor Bullock.“ It was submitted on behalf of the commissioners by the Montana Environmental Information Center, which, along with The Sierra Club, sued Colstrip’s owners under the Clean Air Act in 2013. It was announced in 2016 that units 1 and 2 would shut down by 2022.The commissioners said Senate Bill 331, known as the Montana Energy Security Act eliminates the basic function of the PSC and puts the utility in charge of determining its rates. And they said utility customers would “no longer receive the same level of commission protection from the monopoly utility.”Former commissioners signing the letter include Democrats Tom Schneider, Gail Gutsche, Ken Toole, Greg Jergeson, Bob Raney and John Vincent. Republicans signing the letter include Brad Molnar and Travis Kavulla. Current Commissioners Tony O’Donnell and Roger Koopman, both Republicans, are also among those who signed the letter.Colstrip’s two older units are to close by mid-2022 under a legal settlement, according to the Associated Press. The bill would extend the life of the plant’s two newer units, Units 3 and 4, as other Colstrip co-owners in Washington and Oregon look at reducing their use of coal energy. NorthWestern owns 220 megawatts of generating capacity and would like approval to buy another 150 megawatts of generation, giving it ownership of about half of Unit 4, according to AP.More: Ex-PSC commissioners want to unplug Colstrip billlast_img

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