- Associated Press - Friday, April 12, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A House committee has softened language in a bill allowing NorthWestern Energy to purchase a portion of a coal-fired power plant following criticism the first version bypassed regulatory protections.

It would allow NorthWestern to buy additional generating capacity at the Colstrip plant and additional access to a 500 kilovolt power line.

An amendment Friday restored the Public Service Commission’s ability to regulate what costs NorthWestern could pass on to customers from the Colstrip purchase. It also removed a section guaranteeing that NorthWestern could spend up to $75 million on upgrades without PSC approval.

The bill now moves to the House floor.

Several Republican senators withheld support of a Medicaid expansion bill while waiting on the fate of the Colstrip and other natural resources bills.

Democrats hope to have the Senate vote again on Medicaid expansion on Saturday or Monday.

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