Ericksen: Partial veto of Colstrip bill demonstrates Inslee doesn’t care about working families, jobs or the economy

— SB 6248 was a solid compromise protecting Washington ratepayers, Montana workers
— Inslee veto demonstrates governor’s lack of concern for working families
— Nothing in bill forces shutdown of coal-fired energy facilities or sets timeline for closure

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.

OLYMPIA—Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Friday vetoed a key section of a bill intended to protect ratepayers and workers in the event of closure of coal-fired electricity-generating facilities partially owned by Puget Sound Energy and located in Colstrip, Montana. Senate Bill 6248 was sponsored by Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.

Sen. Ericksen offered the following statement:

“Over the past 18 months I have been working with fellow legislators in Washington and Montana, with industry groups, and with concerned parties to create a balanced and common-sense strategy in the event of closure of coal fired energy facilities partially owned by a Washington utility and located in the state of Montana.

“My two major goals were to protect the ratepayers of Washington and to protect the good-paying industrial jobs in Montana associated with the energy production we need to create jobs in Washington while we transition to new energy sources.

“After much hard work and compromise we accomplished these two goals. SB 6248 provides a framework that will minimize impacts on Washington ratepayers, offer ample opportunity for impacted industries to weigh in and provide safety for working families in Montana, by including assurances that the actions taken would not impact the Montana facilities until 2023 at the soonest. The bill does not require the closure of any facility, nor does it impose a timeline for closure.

“I am very disappointed that Gov. Jay Inslee has decided to veto a key section of this legislation that protects working families and manufacturing jobs in the entire Northwest region. This veto shows a complete and total disregard for the hard-working men and women of Montana, and it demonstrates a lack of concern for manufacturing jobs here in Washington.

“Washington needs leaders who will stand up for working families and good manufacturing jobs by working together on common-sense solutions. This veto is a move in the wrong direction.”