After an announcement that Colstrip units 1 and 2 will be shut down over the next six years due to a legal settlement over an environmental lawsuit, Montana Senator Steve Daines is criticizing President Obama, “fringe environmental groups,” and fellow Montana Senator Jon Tester for over what he describes as “a step backwards” for Colstrip.
“We have voted several times here on legislation to move forward to stop the president’s Clean Power Plan, to stop whats going on at the EPA,” Daines said. “Harry Reid and the democrats have… it requires 60 votes to get something past the senate… we still do not have a 60 vote threshold and that includes the senior senator from Montana. I would hope that we stand together on this battling for coal strip to save these jobs.”
According to Daines, the loss of coal strip would be bad for Montana’s tax revenues and devastating to the Crow tribe.
“The unemployment rate right now out in Indian country on the Crow Reservation is north of 30%,” Daines said. “If they lose their coal jobs, the unemployment rate on the Crow Reservation goes north of 80%. It is devastating for the economy in Indian Country where they already suffer from poverty and a lot of challenges there on the reservation.”
Even if Tester were to side with Daines on legislation to get rid of the Clean Power Plan, it would take many more Democrats to switch sides on the issue to make changes as they would likely need to override a presidential veto.