Gianforte Calls on WA Gov. to Veto Bill Affecting Colstrip

Mar 14, 2016

Colstrip United's Lori Shaw and Ashley Dennehy (L), GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Gianforte (C), and running mate Lesley Robinson (R) stand in the shadow of the recently decommissioned Corette coal fired power plant in Billings to ask WA Gov. Jay Inslee (D) to visit with residents of Colstrip to talk about a bill now on his desk will affect the southeastern Montana community.
Credit Jackie Yamanaka

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte today called on Washington Governor Jay Insley to reject a bill that could lead to the eventual shutdown of coal fired power plants in Colstrip.

Gianforte was joined by members of the group Colstrip United, members of the Boilermakers Union, a representative of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, and others.

Ashley Dennehy and Lori Shaw are with Colstrip United.

Dennehy says it started as a Facebook page. She’s newly married and just bought a house. Her husband is an engineer at the Rosebud Coal Mine.

“I hope to raise my children here,” Dennehy says. “I hope to give them the quality of life that many parents can only dream of.  The only problem with all of this is my town is under attack.”

It’s a reference to legislation in both Washington and Oregon that could eventually lead to the shutdown of the coal-fired power plants in Colstrip and reduce the demand for the fuel from the coal-rich states of Montana and Wyoming.

That is why Gianforte is calling for Inslee to vetp a bill sitting on his desk that could lead to the demise of coal fired electricity plants in Montana and Wyoming.

Gianforte stood in the shadow of the recently decommissioned Corette coal-fired power plant in Billings to call on Inslee to visit Colstrip to see first hand the affected community.

“Come visit the folks in Colstrip,” he says. “Look in the eyes of the families who will be out of work, out of house, and out of home as a result of your decision.”

And the Gianforte campaign took a swipe at Montana Governor Steve Bullock, Democrats, and environmentalists for attacking the agriculture, mining and timber industries.

Lesley Robison is a Phillips County Commissioner, rancher, and Gianforte’s running mate.

“The Keystone pipeline, the Otter Creek Coal tracts,  and the Montanore Mine in Northwest Montana, all we can say with the current administration at this point is could’a, would’a, should’ve,” says Robinson.

A spokesman for the Governor referred a request for comment to the Montana Democratic Party.

Jason Pitt says Governor Bullock is fighting for Montana and coal. He says Gianforte’s event was nothing more than a political stunt.

“The governor has worked really hard and reached out to Inslee and Washington legislators,” says Pitt. “And for Gianforte to hold a press conference like this is just misleading Montanans and he’s not willing to support the governor and the legislators that are fighting to protect the Colstrip community.”

Both Bullock and Gianforte face primary election challengers, but bot men are focusing on each other as they prepare to face off on the November general election ballot.