Avista is increasing electric rates for North Idaho, saying it’s to “cover costs accumulated in 2016.” However, another testimony claims it’s planning to spend $24.2 million between 2017 and 2019 on additions to Colstrip, a coal-fired power plant in Montana. So, which is it? And what is being “added” to this coal plant? Avista is not forthcoming with any details about this investment.
The coal question of this area is prudent — nature is the primary reason I choose to live in North Idaho, as it is for most people I know. It would deeply sadden me to find that I am inadvertently contributing to the ongoing destruction of our environment and pollution of the air we breathe. My reporting with Sandy Compton of the coal pile spontaneously igniting in Heron, Mont., this summer, a month after the derailment, is a spectacular example of what can go wrong!
I would like to know if this significant Avista expense is not better spent supporting renewable energy? Don’t we, the customers, have a say in this? At least we have the right to know what we’re investing in. There is a public hearing on this from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Midtown Center Meeting Room, 1505 N. Fifth St., Coeur d’Alene. Please, let’s all speak up and demand more transparency and advocate for energy resources we believe in!
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