Have you read the blog posted over at Intelligent Discontent. The author argues in support of Senate Bill 338 which would obligate the utilities closing units 1 and 2 in Colstrip to help the workers and their families transition. The fact of the matter is that the mess in Colstrip is not the fault of workers, never has been. The responsibility belongs to massive out-of-state utilities who put more profit ahead of environmental standards and the interests of the people who labored to make them those huge profits. A reasonable and responsible proposal.
Senate Bill 338 also seems like a pretty basic piece of legislation that should fly through the Montana Legislature. Unfortunately, that may not be the case.
So what’s the problem and who’s in the way? MEIC, that’s who! The Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) is lobbying hard to kill this legislation. MEIC is hoping to build a coalition of free market Republicans and corporate Democrats in order to destroy any hope for Colstrip workers. In the end and once again, workers are on the losing end of that relationship.
How is MEIC doing this? They’re using a red herring. Anne Hedges, MEIC’s Lead Lobbyist writes, Senate Bill 338 “moves us in the direction of punishing businesses that have invested billions in the state and are ready to move to the new energy economy. The town of Colstrip needs help with transition, and that doesn’t include scaring away new business.”
MEIC’s argument is disingenuous at best and a corporate lie at worst. And just plain confusing given its history of lawsuits.
The reason units 1 and 2 are closing is because of a successful lawsuit litigated by none other than MEIC and the Sierra Club. It’s pretty rich that MEIC is now all of a sudden concerned about Montana’s business climate, particularly the resource extraction business. The fact of the matter is that corporate America uses these kind of scare tactics to keep their huge profits safe without taking any responsibility for their actions. It’s sad that MEIC is Talon’s mouthpiece and siding with corporations over people.
Additionally, the facts just don’t agree with the story MEIC is trying to sell. When Puget Sound Energy closed a coal plant in Washington state, they paid the community almost $50 million. Guess what? Puget Sound Energy is still operating in Washington and investing in Washington.
Don’t buy the lies and the corporate rhetoric. Senate Bill 338 is a simple bill that could be of tremendous help to the people of Colstrip. More than that, the community has earned the support of the utilities, even if the legislature has to be the one to hold Talon accountable. It’s long past the time of leaving small town Montana high and dry when companies pull the shades on the head office and sneak out of town in the dark of night with groups like MEIC driving the getaway car.
‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’