Proposed Washington State law would tax fuel produced at Colstrip, raise Montana energy costs, kill good-paying jobs
U.S. SENATE — Montana U.S. Senator Steve Daines and U.S. House Representative Greg Gianforte today sent a letter to the Washington State legislature urging the body to reject legislation that would tax fuel produced at the Colstrip Power Plant and raise energy costs for Montanans.
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“Any increase in prices due to taxes imposed by this bill could have detrimental effects on Montana families. They should not have to suffer again because of the actions of a government body nearly one thousand miles away, in a legislature in which they have no voice. This bill will only end up hurting Montana families. We respectfully ask the committee to take into consideration the harmful impacts of this bill on communities outside their own during the upcoming hearing, and further ask that the committee reject the bill if it comes up for consideration,” wrote the Members.
This bill imposes a 12 dollar per metric ton of Montana energy on the generation or import of electricity for consumption in Washington State beginning July 1, 2019 and increases the rate to $30 per metric ton of Montana energy, among other changes.
For more information about the bill and tomorrow’s public hearing in Washington State, click HERE.
Statements of Support:
“I want to thank Senator Daines, and Congressman Gianforte, for speaking out against the proposed Carbon Tax bill. This bill is bad news for the state of Montana and for energy consumers everywhere. Passage of this bill would establish an negative precedent that could result in unfair and unnecessary pressure placed on the very poorest of energy consumers throughout the Pacific Northwest.” – Lori Shaw, Colstrip United Movement – Co-founder & Director, Colstrip City Councilwoman
“This tax is going to be devastating on low income and elderly in Washington. While it will devastate Montana’s economy. It will in all probability layoff about 900 Union workers here in Montana. Put young families out of work and out of their homes. They will be forced to walk away from their mortgages. Not to mention those utilities that will be stranded with their investments in Colstrip. This makes no sense, is is not about the environment, and it is certainly not about supporting regional economy.” – Senator Duane Ankney, Senate District #20
Read the full letter HERE.
The Honorable Christine Rolfes
The Honorable John Braun
Washington State Senate Ways & Means Committee
311 J.A. Cherberg Building
304 15th Ave SW
Olympia, WA 98504
Dear Chair Rolfes and Ranking Member Braun:
We write today with deep concerns regarding legislation scheduled to receive testimony in the Washington State Senate Ways and Means Committee on February 15, 2018. As representatives of the State of Montana we oppose SSB 6203 as well as the updated proposed second substitute, acts which create a tax on energy produced from traditional fuels, because of their direct and negative effects on the people of Montana. While we respect the right and sovereignty of the Legislature of Washington to create laws and impose taxes on residents of their state, this bill reaches outside of Washington, potentially raising energy rates, creating a pseudo tax within the state of Montana.
SSB 6203 creates at least a ten-dollar tax rate per metric ton of carbon dioxide on the use, sale, or consumption of electricity generated from fossil fuels within the state of Washington. We understand an updated proposed second substitute for this legislation increases the tax rate to twelve dollars per metric ton, among other changes. Because electricity can be generated in one state and transmitted across borders, the effects of this punitive policy will be hardest felt in our state of Montana. Specifically SSB 6203 and the updated proposed second substitute, if signed into law, would tax the electricity generated from the Colstrip Power Plant located in Colstrip, Montana, which is transmitted to Washington. This bill could raise energy prices on struggling Montana families and risk the closure of the Colstrip Power Plant.
The Colstrip Power Plant is important to our state because of the reliable, affordable energy it produces and the important tax revenue it generates. Further, it is vital for the communities and families of Colstrip and Rosebud County who depend on the high-paying jobs it creates. This plant supports more than 7,000 Montana jobs and contributes millions in tax revenue for schools, roads and libraries. It also keeps the lights on and the heat running at affordable prices for many Montanans and Washingtonians. Any increase in prices due to taxes imposed by this bill could have detrimental effects on Montana families. These communities have already suffered because of outside groups forcing the imminent closure of Units 1 and 2; they should not have to suffer again because of the actions of a government body nearly one thousand miles away, in a legislature in which they have no voice.
We agree that it is important to protect our environment. We believe, however, that this bill will only end up hurting Montana families. We respectfully ask the committee to take into consideration the harmful impacts of this bill on communities outside their own during the upcoming hearing, and further ask that the committee reject the bill if it comes up for consideration.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.