House Approves Senate Bill On Energy
The house approved a senate bill, opponents say would make compliance with the renewable energy standard almost voluntary. The standard requires utility companies to increase energy production from renewable sources. This bill would allow utility companies to apply for a three-year waiver from complying with the standard, and the waiver could be renewed indefinitely. Opponents say this would hurt the state's efforts to utilize all of Montana’s natural resources, but representative James Knox says waiver applications would be strictly reviewed by the Public Service Commission. He says it would allow utility companies some leeway, while they are developing alternative energy forms.
The house has also passed a bill revising the renewable energy portfolio standards, to include hydro-electric expansions.