Northwestern Energy’s proposed 20-year resource procurement plan, which is up for approval by the Public Service Commission in the coming year, takes advantage of Montanan consumers and is a brazen act of science denial.

Of the five utility companies in the Pacific Northwest that own stake in the Colstrip coal-fired power-plant, four of them plan to disinvest themselves from the plant by 2025 because of prohibitive cost. NWE is the lone holdout, and they plan on using the plant well into the 2040s. Coal has already become one of the most expensive forms of electricity production on the planet, and the price is rapidly rising. These rising prices will be passed on to everyday Montanans. States all over the country, from California and Washington to our west, to Wyoming and Nevada to our south, have decided to pursue solar, wind, and geothermal energy production because they are now the cheapest ways to make electricity, and their prices are falling year over year.

In addition to unnecessarily raising prices for Montana’s energy consumers, NWE’s proposed plan to acquire all its new energy production in the next 20 years from coal and natural gas is a dereliction of the company’s responsibility to ensure a livable planet for future generations. All over the planet, climate change is wreaking havoc. Arctic Sea ice is at historic lows, and fires rage from the Amazon to Australia to California. Additionally, we are seeing massive declines in biodiversity and agriculture production the world over. The time has long since passed to sit around and hope our business leaders and elected officials take action to confront the greatest problem the world is currently facing. It is time to demand action. We must demand that NWE submit a plan that is in line with science, and protects Montana’s consumers.

Nick Hostetler