We know that Montanans want and deserve a clean, affordable, and just energy future that protects the people and places we love. No one wants to overpay for expensive, outdated energy sources that pollute our air, contaminate our water, and drain our wallets. Unfortunately, monopoly energy corporations like NorthWestern Energy want to double down on polluting energy because it’s more profitable to shareholders and executives. These corporations want to further entrench power by rigging the system in their favor, eliminating competition and oversight. In short, they want to dismantle the free market and use the power of the government to mandate that captive energy customers pay more for inefficient, polluting fuels. It’s a dirty trick, and a couple of bills help further the scheme.
HB 220, sponsored by Rep. Josh Kassmier (R-Fort Benton), would create a partisan committee with additional seats for monopoly energy corporations to examine laws and recommend policy on energy resource planning in Montana. The bill literally gives monopoly corporations a seat at the table to help direct the laws that oversee their business. This isn’t just letting the fox guard the henhouse, it’s inviting the fox to be the architect for all future henhouses.
Another disturbing bill is HB 454, sponsored by Rep. Gary Parry (R-Colstrip), which would target large-scale renewable energy production for significant tax increases. This bill would use government taxation to manipulate the marketplace, giving an unfair advantage to the expensive, outdated energy sources preferred by monopoly utilities, effectively killing the cleaner, more efficient, and more affordable energy sources embraced by the free market.