There’s a fight brewing in the Northwest. Elected officials in Washington state have pledged to their environmental funders that they’ll do whatever it takes to kill the coal industry. We’re already seeing them try to put that plan in action. Washington regulators are putting up every hurdle they can think of to block the construction of a new export terminal that will ship coal, as well as grain, to Asian markets. And earlier this year, the Washington Legislature proposed legislation that would have forced the shutdown of the Colstrip coal-fired electrical generators.
Of course, their plans would have terrible consequences on jobs, but not in their own state. Almost all the job losses would be centered in Montana if they are successful.
Like I said, there’s a battle brewing. And you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. That’s why Montana Republicans have come up with our own plans to increase the firepower our state has in this conflict. The Senate has passed a bill (SB 402) to make Washington pay for the largest of the economic impacts of a politically-motivated Colstrip closure. And over in the House, they’ve passed a bill (HB 244) to add $1 million to the attorney general’s budget to fund litigation against attempts to block transportation of Montana commodities.
Montana’s vast coal resources represent one of the largest economic opportunities our state has. To develop more of that natural resource wealth would have a positive impact on every community in the state. We’re not about to allow other states to kill Montana jobs and rob us of our best opportunities.
Sen. Doug Kary
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