From Public News Service:

Travis Kavulla, a former Public Service Commissioner, said NorthWestern isn’t obligated to keep the plant open if it buys more energy, meaning the bill doesn’t necessarily secure jobs. He also noted the utility already is able to buy an additional share of the power plant.

“Which, I think, necessarily implies that the only reason for this piece of legislation is because NorthWestern wants special protection or favorable regulatory treatment for a business decision that we should expect it to make all on its own as a business,” Kavulla said.

Kavulla believes NorthWestern is outsourcing a business decision to the Montana Legislature. He also said sticking with coal without evaluating the cost of other energy options such as renewables could cost customers even more.