(Colstip) The Colstrip community celebrated its continued success as an economic engine and unique history by hosting a legislative reception in Helena on January 16, 2023. The reception was attended by approximately 325 people, including Governor Greg Gianforte and nearly all of the 150 current MT legislators. Numerous CEOs from the ownership groups such as Northwestern, Talen, Westmoreland, and Avista also were in attendance with a historic announcement. About 30 firms sponsored the event, which was hosted by Senators Jason Small, and Barry Usher and Representatives Gary Parry and Paul Green.
The event highlighted the quality of life benefits and the positive impacts that the community has shared with the region and the entire state. Jim Atchison, Executive Director of Southeastern Montana Development Corporation (right), along with Mayor John Williams (left) presented Senator Duane Ankney (center) with the SEMDC Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of service to Colstrip and the State of Montana. Atchison noted that Senator Ankney gave 150% of his heart and soul to the community and the energy industry that he felt was so important to Montana. While not everyone always agreed with him, everyone certainly respected Senator Ankney.” Upon receiving his award, Senator Ankney expressed his gratitude for the award and the voters who allowed him to continue doing the people’s work for many years.
During the legislative reception, it was announced that Avista (one of the power plant owners) would transfer their ownership portion in Units #3 and #4 to NorthWestern Energy. This change will occur in January 2026. The announcement was welcomed loud and clear by the audience. Atchison added that “this announcement sends a strong message of stability and hope to the community and that Colstrip is Changing, but not Closing.”
For additional information, contact SEMDC at 406-748-2990 or email Jim Atchison at jatchison@semdc.org.