Blast Motion Fails For Colstrip Closure Bill

Apr 19, 2017

The House rejected a motion to bring SB 338 from a House committee to the floor for debate. The bill addressing the pending closure of Colstrip Units 1 & 2.
Credit Jackie Yamanaka

A bill related to the pending closure of two coal fired power plants in Colstrip remains languishing in a House committee. A Representative failed to “blast” Senate Bill 338 to the floor for debate.

The bill sailed through the state Senate but was tabled in the House Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee after it failed to pass on an 8-8 vote.

Representative Jim Keane argues Senate Bill 338 should be debated on the House floor because Colstrip Units 1 and 2 will be decommissioned by it’s out of state owners and it would give the state a seat at the table. “This bill is what allows us standing in the state of Washington. It’s very important that we have this bill out here and discuss it. It’s the way that companies and it’s the way that Colstrip and the citizens of Montana are going to get the decommissioning done in a proper and just manner.”

But opponents to Keen’s motion to blast the bill to the house floor from committee say this bill is not necessary because there are other bills to help the Southeastern Montana community.

Representative Daniel Zolnikov who chairs the House committee says the biggest problem with the bill is opponents worry the bill is punitive because it would impose a fee on a company for leaving Montana.

Zolnikov says that investors say “whoa, if you guys are gonna do this type of legislation, then we don’t want to invest in Montana.” He added, “You’re scaring our investors.”

The attempt to blast the bill to the floor for debate failed on a 40-59 vote.