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Clearing Up / This Week
[CU 1894 / March 22, 2019]
Montana Senate Considers Bailing Out Colstrip, Sidelining Montana PSC
Lawmakers in the Montana Senate are rushing along a controversial bill that hamstrings Montana PSC oversight of NorthWestern Energy in exchange for the hope that the utility will keep the coal-fired Colstrip plant operating a few more years. The bill has drawn fierce criticism, except from those with the most to lose: the PSC.
Washington Senate Clean Energy Bill Advances in House
On a party-line vote March 19, the Washington House energy committee cleared the clean-energy bill passed by the Senate in early March. The vote on Senate Bill 5116 was delayed almost a week by horse trading over changes to the underlying measure and other amendments. Unchanged were the main provisions, which would transition the state’s power supply to carbon-free sources by 2045. Changes adopted by the committee include a lower cap on the incremental cost of compliance and increased penalties for noncompliant power supply during the carbon-neutral and carbon-free phases.
Orca Task Force Hears Climate Impacts, More Calls for Dam Removals
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As the Southern Resident Orca Task Force kicked off its second year, its members learned from climate experts that the whales’ main threats from a lack of salmon, water pollution and disturbance from underwater noise will only worsen as the earth and ocean continue to warm. Although the task force did not discuss Snake River dam removal, the topic dominated public comments at the end of the day-long meeting.
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