Colstrip Bill Passes Panel, Heads for Montana Senate Floor
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana legislative committee has endorsed a bill that supporters hope will keep the Colstrip Power Plant operating.
The Billings Gazette reports that Senate Bill 331 passed the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee on a 9-4 vote Thursday. It now heads to the Senate floor.
The bill by Billings Republican Sen. Tom Richmond assures that if the Colstrip plant closes early, customers would keep paying NorthWestern Energy $407 million compensation for its 30 percent ownership of Colstrip Unit 4. It also raises the possibility that NorthWestern would increase its ownership in the unit and keep the plant operating.
Supporters of the proposal say it could help Colstrip avoid early closure and save its jobs and jobs at the coal mine that supplies it, while opponents are skeptical that it will.
Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com