HELENA, Mont. – Montana Governor Steve Bullock today issued the following statement on Washington Senate Bill 6248:
“Working with Republicans and Democrats, we made improvements in this bill and made sure it no longer directs a closure process for part of Colstrip, but it is still flawed. I am disappointed Governor Inslee decided to sign this legislation. Now we need to redouble our efforts to fight for Montanans whose livelihoods depend on coal and develop responsible, Montana-made energy that will keep our economy competitive and create more good-paying jobs.”
- Throughout 2015 and 2016, Governor Bullock and members of his staff together with Montana Sen. Keane, Sen. Ankney, Sen. Ripley, and Sen. Larson worked with the Washington Legislature to make improvements to the bill during the legislative process. Governor Bullock’s staff and the four senators traveled to Spokane to lobby members of the Washington legislature and participated in similar discussions at Colstrip.
- “The governor’s persuasion did influence the legislation lawmakers eventually passed. Initially, the Colstrip bill set a deadline for Puget Sound Energy to close Colstrip Units 1 and 2, of which PSE shares ownership with Talen Energy. The bill now waiting to be signed into law by Inslee allows PSE to begin funding a retirement account to close the oldest two of Colstrip’s four units, but doesn’t set a closure date.” (Billings Gazette, 3/14/16)
- Governor Bullock wrote a letter to the Washington Legislature on January 20, 2016 offering his comments and expressing concerns about SB 6248 and asked that legislators defer the bill until the next legislative session. Governor Bullock wrote previous letters to the Washington Legislature and Governor Inslee about HB 2002 and SB 5874, both of which would have had effects on Colstrip.
- “Colstrip is a company town that provides a good quality of life for most of its residents. Closing one or more of the generating facilities would be devastating to the community.” – Gov. Bullock
- Governor Bullock has also had several conversations with Governor Inslee directly expressing his concerns about the bill’s impact on Montana; he also asked Governor Inslee to veto the bill during the last conversation they had about the bill.
- Governor Bullock recently wrote an opinion piece about his leadership and vision for energy development, including coal, in Montana. The full version can be accessed here.