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Well, that’s what you can expect if Senate Bill 331 passes. The state Senate passed the bill and my Senator Fred Thomas voted yes. The bill is now beginning its review in the House. I’m hoping my Rep. Sharon Greef will want to protect consumers and vote no. SB 331 is essentially government overreach and greed and allows the biggest utility company in Montana, Northwest Energy (NWE), to buy 50 percent shares in a Colstrip plant for $1. Furthermore, the bill allows no oversight by the Montana Public Service Commission for ten years in which time NWE can pass on $75 million dollars’ worth of remediation costs to consumers. Sounds like corporate welfare to me, of the worst kind. Those who defend this bill say NWE needs more energy sources when it’s cold and the wind turbines aren’t turning. Baloney. NWE can buy on the market anytime without this giveaway bill.

What can you do? Call the legislature 406-444-4800. Staff will deliver your message to your representative, House President Scott Sales and the Energy Committee. Lastly, think about retiring those in the next election who vote yes on this bill.

— Marilyn Wolff, Stevensville

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