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Governor Bullock and Attorney General Fox announce stakeholder group to help community, workers and families of Colstrip plan for the future

Thursday, December 14, 2017/Categories: Governor's Office/Tags:

Governor Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox today announced the creation of an advisory group co-chaired by their offices to develop a plan for addressing the economic impact following the closure of Colstrip Units 1 & 2. The Colstrip Community Impact Advisory Group includes state and local officials, community leaders, and labor and economic development organizations. The group will help the community of Colstrip develop a community impact plan guiding disbursement of economic impact funds provided by owners of the Colstrip Generating Facility. 

“As Governor and Attorney General, we are committed to the people of Colstrip and helping the community further develop a community impact plan for when Units 1 and 2 no longer operate,” Bullock and Fox wrote in a joint letter to Puget Sound Energy (attached).

The Colstrip Community Impact Advisory Group will use the $10 million in impact funds committed by Puget Sound Energy through a rate case settlement agreement recently approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Committee.

“Taking care of the workers and community of Colstrip is a top priority for the state of Montana, and this group will work together to find Montana-made solutions to ensure the region is prepared to address the challenges and opportunities for employees, businesses and families as a result a changing economy,” said Governor Bullock.

“The city of Colstrip must be in the driver’s seat when deciding how this fund will be utilized,” said Attorney General Fox. “Throughout the settlement negotiations, I made it clear to Puget Sound Energy that I expect the company to clean-up the Colstrip facility once it’s shut down, as well as provide funds to address economic impact caused by their decision to close Units 1 & 2. So far, PSE has kept their promises.”

Colstrip Community Impact Advisory Group members:

•           Adam Schafer, Governor’s Office (co-chair)

•           Jon Bennion, Attorney General’s Office (co-chair)

•           Puget Sound Energy representative

•           John Williams, Colstrip Mayor

•           Doug Martens, Rosebud County Commissioner

•           State Senator Duane Ankney

•           State Representative Geraldine Custer

•           Jim Atchison, Southeastern Montana Development Corporation

•           State Senator Jason Small, President Boilermakers 11 at Colstrip

•           Stacey Yates, Business Manager IBEW 1638 at Colstrip

•           Wally McRae, Colstrip area rancher

•           Director Pam Haxby-Cote, or Designee, Montana Department of Commerce

•           Director Tom Livers, or Designee, Montana Department of Environmental Quality

•           Commissioner Galen Hollenbaugh, or Designee, Montana Department of Labor and Industry

Last year Governor Bullock released a blueprint for Montana’s energy future, which recognized Montana would need both carbon-based and renewable sources of energy in the coming decades. He has brought diverse stakeholders from the U.S Department of Energy to CEOs and company representatives from the energy and coal industry to prepare Montana for an energy future in a rapidly evolving world economy. Bullock also secured over $4.6 million in funding to assist the community of Colstrip with workforce planning and worker training.

The $10 million Colstrip Community Impact Fund was the result of negotiations led by Attorney General Fox on behalf of the state of Montana in Puget Sound Energy’s recent electricity rate case before the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. The $10 million in economic impact funds is in addition to over $395 million Puget Sound Energy committed towards environmental cleanup of the Colstrip facility once it is no longer in operation.

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