by Anne Hedges

Two recent Montana specific polls tell an undeniable truth – Montanans love clean energy. While we’ve known for years that the nation and the world support more clean energy development, these polls bring it home to our own backyard. And while Montanans support for renewable energy is off the charts, our support for increased energy efficiency is nearly unanimous.

Judith Gap Wind Farm.

Judith Gap Wind Farm.

That’s saying a lot in a coal state, but the funny thing is, Montana is not alone. A recent poll in Texas was very similar, but like most things, Montana was even better. Sorry Texas. Despite Texas being surprisingly good in its attitude toward clean energy, Montana is even better.

In this coal state where politicians seem to fall over themselves to show undying support for the digging and burning of more coal (and greater greenhouse gases), the poll results show that they are barking up the wrong tree. Support for more coal development was a whopping 30 percentage points LOWER than support for energy efficiency, 25 percentage points LOWER than support for more solar energy, and 21 percentage points LOWER than the desire for more wind development. Conclusion: Montanan’s really, really LOVE clean energy.

Ravalli County Communithy Solar Project.

Ravalli County Communithy Solar Project.

But don’t just take it from one poll. A poll released this week by Montana State University – Billings found very similar results but the clean energy results were lost in the more contentious political results. While there was only one clean energy question on that poll, the results confirm the previous poll — 80% of Montanans want the federal government to place the same or more emphasis on renewable sources of energy in Montana. 80%!

Politicians, are you listening?

  • Montanans support EPA’s clean power plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Montanans support a solid transition plan for the communities and the workers at our coal plants that are scheduled to close. They don’t want to punish the owners for closing them.
  • And Montanans overwhelmingly support more clean energy development.

The path forward is obvious if you care what Montanans think and you care about our pocketbooks. Maybe once this “nasty” election season is over, we can get busy giving Montanans what they really want…more clean energy.

Comments are closed.