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.
You can leave a message for individual legislators, as well as House and Senate Committee members, by calling legislative services at (406) 444-4800 from 7:30 A.M. to 5:00 PM. You can also email individual legislators by visiting our 2017 Legislators Contact Page and entire committees by using the pop-up links below for the select committees.
1. Ensure a just transition for Colstrip while allowing for future clean energy replacement
While there are about a dozen bills that deal with the closure of Colstrip units 1 & 2, there are two that rise to the top of the lousy idea list. We highlight the bill that has a hearing this week, SB 338 (Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip). SB 338 is a punitive bill that will scare away investments in large-scale clean energy development in Montana. The bill would force the owners of Colstrip to pay outlandish sums to the community of Colstrip, yet the bill fails to guarantee cleanup of the extensive contamination at Colstrip, fails to provide security for pensions of plant workers, and fails to require the owners to provide clean water to the town. Out-of-state utilities are the ones who would buy wind energy in Montana, but this bill will discourage those investments. This bill puts a giant “closed for business” sign on the state and fails to protect workers and the environment. This bill would create immeasurable uncertainty for utilities and would almost certainly cause out-of-state utilities to invest in clean energy from anywhere but Montana.
Please contact Senate Energy Committee members and ask them to say NO to bills that put a “closed to clean energy business” sign on Montana.
2. Protect utility-scale clean energy development
The House Energy Committee will soon vote on legislation that would harm utility-scale clean energy projects. SB 102 (Sen. Tom Richmond, R-Billings) would place a 20-year maximum on contracts for wind and solar projects trying to utilize a federal law that encourages alternative energy production. Clean energy project developers, as well as the Montana Bankers Association, testified to the Senate Energy Committee they would need at least 20-year contracts in order to finance projects. Contracts greater than 20 years are standard in the energy industry. NorthWestern Energy requested and received a 25-year revenue guarantee when it built its Spion Kop wind farm in 2012. Independent power producers should get equal treatment.
Contact the House Energy Committee by clicking on the link below to see all committee members’ emails. Ask them to support clean energy development by voting NO on SB 102.
3. Citizen Lobby Day on Friday, March 17th in Helena
Please join us on March 17th in Helena for our third – and final – Citizen Lobby Day of the 2017 legislative session. You’ll receive an exclusive training from policy experts in the conservation community on lobbying and a briefing on priority issues. We’ll focus on critical legislation affecting clean energy, clean air, climate change, and land use.
Join friends and members from MEIC and other conservation groups for a training starting in the morning. We will then head up to the Capitol to talk with legislators and give testimony in hearings in the afternoon.
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