Montana Environmental Information Center

Clean and healthful. It's your right, our mission.

Contact the Governor – We Need Vetoes!

The Montana Legislature is in its final week, and several bad bills are heading to the Governor. The Governor is making his decision RIGHT NOW on whether to sign them into law or veto these terrible bills. Below is a quick and easy list of bills — contact the Governor and request vetos. Please help fight for our right to a clean and healthful environment. Pick one or do all four. However much you decide to do will help make a difference.

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Contact the Governor – Veto the Legislature’s Attack on Montana’s Water

Contact Governor Bullock

Dear Governor Steve Bullock,

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The Montana Legislature is sending a terrible bill to the Governor’s desk, and we need your help in requesting that he veto this reckless bill. HB 339 would functionally overturn a Supreme Court decision last year that protected Montana’s water resources and property rights from sprawl. The bill would re-open the exempt well loophole that the Montana Supreme Court wisely closed last year, and give developers the right to take the water before those who are legally entitled to use that water first.

It’s bad policy based on bad science and will deplete streamflows, undermine senior water rights, increase sprawl, and spark conflict among water users. It’s irresponsible, putting development before water security and our prized fisheries. It’s unfair, letting subdivisions cut in line to grab water before everyone else – including those with senior rights. It’s bad science, imposing arbitrary guidelines for water use in a state with complex hydrology and already over-allocated streams.

Governor Bullock is making the decision NOW about whether to put the veto pen to HB 339, and he’s under a deadline. Take a moment, and ask that he protect Montana’s water resources and veto HB 339.

If you would like to personalize your message to Governor Bullock, click on “Read the Petition.”

Want renewable energy in MT? Call to oppose SB 338

We need to ask you to make another phone call. The future of large-scale, renewable energy in Montana has so much potential, and it’s in danger.

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High-Impact Actions for the Environment (Week of March 20th)

Below is quick and easy list of high-impact actions you can take this week that will help fight for our right to a clean and healthful environment. Pick one or do all five. However you decide to help will make a difference.

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High-Impact Actions for the Environment (Week of March 13th)

Below is quick and easy list of high-impact actions you can take this week that will help fight for our right to a clean and healthful environment. Pick one or do all three. However you decide to help is much appreciated.

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Five High-Impact Actions at the Montana Legislature: Week of March 6th

We know your time is valuable, but we need your help to support clean energy, clean water, and clean air. Below is quick and easy list of five high-impact actions you can take this week that will help fight for our right to a clean and healthful environment. We’ve incorporated your suggestions from previous alerts and tried to make it as easy as possible for you to help. Pick one or do all five. However you decide to help is much appreciated.

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5 Quick Actions to Help Protect the Environment

We know your time is valuable, but we need your help to support clean energy, clean water, and clean air (as well as your pocketbooks).

We have made another quick and easy list of five high-impact actions you can take this week that will help fight for our right to a clean and healthful environment. Pick one or do all five. However you decide to help is much appreciated.

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Support Clean Energy in the Montana House

Contact the House Energy Committee

This petition is now closed.

End date: Feb 27, 2017

Signatures collected: 424

424 signatures

UPDATE: The Solar Jobs and Energy Freedom Act, HB 504, was heard in the House energy committee on Wednesday, February 22nd. The bill failed to pass when it received an 8 to 8 tied vote. Read more here.

Across Montana, people from all walks of life are saying solar is the Montana Way. Montanans are stepping forward and asking for solutions that will grow jobs, protect our rivers and lands, and create more energy options that reduce our reliance on giant corporate monopolies.

But the Legislature is stalling, refusing to remove antiquated regulations that limit Montana’s energy freedom and block job growth in clean energy. In spite of rising consumer demand and better technology, some legislators are throwing up more obstacles to solar jobs and energy freedom. Others are kicking the can down the road. The Legislature hasn’t even been able to pass the most basic of solar progress bills this session, because the state’s largest utility doesn’t want to compete with Montana homeowners and businesses producing their solar energy. Our legislators need to listen to the people they represent rather than NorthWestern Energy. Montanans are tired of the gridlock, the barriers, and the paralysis by analysis.

The Solar Jobs and Energy Freedom Act would have removed barriers to solar energy growth, including:

  • Raising the cap on a net metered system to 1 megawatt, giving homeowners, farmers and businesses the freedom to purchase a solar system that meets their needs;
  • Giving more Montanans access to affordable solar energy through community solar projects that allow those who rent or live in a home not suitable for a solar array to have the choice to invest in a local solar project and receive credits that reduce their energy bill;
  • Giving farmers and ranchers the freedom to choose a solar system that meets all their energy needs by allowing for net-metering credits to be applied across multiple meters;
  • Helping Montanans struggling to pay their utility bills by requiring NorthWestern Energy to apply left over net metering credits to low-income bill assistance.

 

Would you like more updates like these? Sign up for MEIC’s Action Alert Network!

Support Clean Energy in the Montana Senate

Contact the Senate Energy Committee

This petition is now closed.

End date: Feb 01, 2017

Signatures collected: 142

142 signatures

Currently, there are three BAD clean energy bills in the Senate energy committee that you can help stop: two bad bills on net metering and one bad bill that would eliminate Community Renewable Energy Projects.

Net Metering

Net metering is a policy that allows individuals and businesses that install a wind, solar, or micro-hydro system on their own property to receive credit on their energy bill for any extra energy produced that goes onto the grid. Renewable energy system owners only get this credit when their system puts this extra energy onto the grid – energy that NorthWestern Energy turns around and sells to others on the grid.

When the Republican controlled legislature first passed net metering in 1999, it found that “it is in the public interest to promote net metering because it encourages private investment in renewable energy resources, stimulates Montana’s economic growth, and enhances the continued diversification of the energy resources used in Montana.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Community Renewable Energy Projects

Montana’s Renewable Energy Standard includes a provision supporting Community Renewable Energy Projects (CREPs). These are projects that must be majority owned by Montana individuals or businesses and less than 25 Megawatts in size. This CREPs provision is designed to spur local jobs and economic development while also putting clean energy onto the grid.

Only investor owned utilities are required to comply with this part of the law. Montana Dakota Utilities is in compliance but NorthWestern Energy is not. Rather than comply with the law, NorthWestern instead wants to just remove the CREPs requirement.

Take action today to support clean energy in Montana! Please use the tool on this page to contact the members of the Senate Energy committee. The message sent reads as follows:

Dear Senator,

I am contacting you to request that you vote against Senate Bills 1, 7, and 32.

SB 1 and 7 would harm solar energy jobs and economic development in Montana by discriminating against net metered customers in part by placing unnecessary and costly burdens on them. When the legislature created net metering in 1999 it found that net metering “encourages private investment in renewable energy resources, stimulates Montana’s economic growth, and enhances the continued diversification of the energy resources used in Montana.” This remains true today and we should not be harming this growing sector of our economy.

SB 32 would also hurt jobs in Montana by repealing the Community Renewable Energy Projects (CREPs) provision of the Renewable Energy Standard. Community renewable energy projects are majority locally owned projects that put the clean energy they produce on the grid right here in Montana. Montana Dakota Utilities is in compliance with CREPs – only NorthWestern Energy is not. Passage of this bill would mean the lost of these jobs and clean energy for Montana.

Thank you for your consideration.

Tell Montana Senators to Say NO to Anti-EPA Chief!

Yesterday President-Elect Trump nominated a climate skeptic, anti-public health, anti-environmental protection, anti-federal backstop, oil industry hack and nationwide anti-Environmental Protection Agency ring leader to head the very agency he has worked to destroy. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is dangerous for our future. That’s not hyperbole. That’s not fear-based. That’s a fact.

We know the next four years will be difficult, and like you, we’ve been asking ourselves what can we do? We have an idea for you.

Pruitt wants to hand environmental and public health protections back to the states instead of guaranteeing that every person in this country is assured fundamental protections from harmful air and water pollution. States like Montana have a long history of state screw-ups and political interference when it comes to environmental protection and public health (think Libby, Zortman/Landusky, the Berkley pit, Colstrip’s coal-ash ponds, etc.). We need federal backstops when state’s cave to industry pressure or don’t have the resources to do their jobs.

Pruitt is a dangerous pick.

But he’s not the head of the EPA just yet. He needs to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. We are asking you to take two quick actions:

  1. Call Senator Jon Tester. Thank him for his continued efforts to solve the climate crisis and support clean energy. Ask him to reject Scott Pruitt and demand Trump appoint someone who believes in EPA’s mission to protect the health of all people of the United States, not just those living in states that are willing to buck pressure from polluters. Call his office 202-224-2644.
  1. Call Senator Steve Daines. Tell him his letter to Trump this week was WAY out of line. The vast majority of Montanans want action on climate change. They want clean air and clean water and they don’t want to give away or waste natural resources such as coal or natural gas respectively. Clean energy is good for the economy and public health. The current climate crisis is not caused by sun spots, as he’s stated. Ask him to reject Pruitt. Call his office at 202-224-2651.