1. HB 597 is the new SB 331 – forcing NorthWestern Energy customers to bail out Colstrip. Tell Governor Bullock and your legislators it STILL STINKS!

HB 597, by Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R-Billings), is a broadly titled Public Service Commission reform bill that is openly being used to revive SB 331, which died overwhelmingly in the House last Tuesday.

HB 597 is going to a conference committee where it can be hijacked to include SB 331’s Colstrip bailout language and force NorthWestern’s customers to pay a larger share of the cleanup costs at Colstrip.

If the conference committee amends HB 597 then it will go back to the full House and Senate for a vote. If both chambers pass the new bill then it goes to the Governor to sign or veto.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE keep contacting your Representative, Senator, and the Governor and tell them to oppose a coal bailout in any form—including in HB 597!

  • Find out who your representative and senator are by using this link.
  • Call Governor Steve Bullock at (406) 444-3111 and ask that he oppose any bill that forces NorthWestern Energy customers to pick up the tab for a larger share of the toxic mess at Colstrip.

2. Ask Governor Bullock to oppose regressive energy policy!

HB 487, by Rep. Derek Skees (R-Kalispell), would completely undermine Montana’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal of incentivizing new renewable energy by allowing 100+ year old hydroelectric dams to count toward the standard.

The entire purpose of the RPS was to result in new, additional renewable energy and economic development. This has been successful so far. HB 487 does the exact opposite by allowing 100+ year old hydro dams to count.

HB 487 is off to the Governor’s desk, and at this point will require a veto to fail.

Please contact Governor Steve Bullock at (406) 444-3111 and tell him to veto this backward-looking legislation.

3. Help Us Celebrate Another Victory!

In another important legal victory in which MEIC was represented by Earthjustice, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris ruled that the Trump administration acted illegally when it revoked a moratorium on leasing coal on federal land.

In early 2016, President Obama’s Department of Interior issued a moratorium on most new coal leases on federal land, including some in Montana. Interior committed to update a 1979 analysis that governed leasing of coal on millions of acres of federal lands – an out-of-date analysis conducted long before the impacts of climate change were well understood.

One of the first acts by Trump’s former Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke was to overturn the coal leasing moratorium by fiat using a Secretarial Order. Neither Zinke nor the Department of Interior conducted any analysis on the impacts of eliminating the moratorium, nor did they consult with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe on the repeal of the moratorium. Judge Morris found that the decision to eliminate the moratorium without any analysis violated the law. While Morris did not reinstate the moratorium, he left that possibility open should the parties to the case fail to agree on next steps. View Judge Morris’ decision here.

Stay tuned!

P.S. Check out this excellent regional clean energy conference!

Want to learn more about the changing energy landscape in the northwest?

Join clean energy advocates, policymakers, utility staff, business leaders, and more at the Clean & Affordable Energy Conference in Boise on May 3, 2019 to explore strategies for the Northwest’s transition to a clean energy future.

For more details click the link!

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