Below is a list of three things you can do this week to help Montana’s environment and to help tackle the climate crisis.

1. Oppose Lower Taxes for Gas Plants

HB 170 (Rep. Tom Welch R-Dillon) will dramatically lower the tax rate for facilities that use green hydrogen. Green hydrogen is an emerging technology that uses water and renewable energy to create hydrogen, which can then be used to power vehicles, electric generating plants, industrial operations, and more. While MEIC supports green hydrogen as an important clean energy resource of the future – this bill falls short. As written, HB 170 would allow an electrical generating plant that burns 92% gas and only 8% hydrogen to receive a massive tax break, reducing its effective tax rate to 1.5%. This could incentivize more gas plants.

HB 170 will also exempt facilities that utilize hydrogen from having to comply with the Major Facilities Siting Act (MFSA). MFSA an incredibly useful tool for helping to plan for the construction of major facilities by taking local communities and the environment into account. 

We need you to urge the House Taxation Committee to amend HB 170 to require that any plant receiving this favorable tax rate must also substantially increase its proportionate reliance on hydrogen over time instead of locking in the favorable tax rate for a plant that runs almost exclusively on gas. Hydrogen facilities should also comply with MFSA. 

The hearing on HB 170 is Tuesday, January 26th at 8:30 am in House Taxation. To push back on creating incentives for new gas plants, please send your concerns to the House Taxation committee.

2. Encourage Tester and Daines to Support President Biden’s Climate Agenda

President Biden’s first week in office provided hope that his Administration is serious about tackling the climate crisis. Last week, President Biden issued Executive Orders to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and pause issuing new leases for oil and gas development on federal lands. But these preliminary Executive Orders are not all that the President has planned.

President Biden is expected to announce more climate policies at every level of his administration as well as proposals for Congress to consider. Please take a minute to contact our representatives in the U.S. Senate and Congress to let them know that Montana’s environment, our health and our economy require immediate action on climate change. Please contact Senator Jon Tester, Senator Steve Daines, and Congressman Matt Rosendale, and respectfully ask that they support President Biden’s climate initiatives. Montana’s and the world’s futures are at stake.

3. Want the skinny on what’s going on at the 2021 legislative session? Join MEIC this Thursday, and every Thursday, at 5:00 PM.

Every Thursday, MEIC will host a webinar to bring you up to date on the latest happenings at the Capitol. Hear from MEIC’s team of lobbyists about the latest issues being grappled with at the Capitol, ask questions about our work in lobbying on behalf of the environment, and learn how you can speak up at the Legislature. If you have any questions about how to participate this session, please watch MEIC’s instructional video, or read our fact sheet.

If you had trouble joining last week’s meeting, we apologize for sending a bad webinar link! We corrected the error – so don’t be discouraged. MEIC needs our members to speak up this session and these webinars are our attempt to give you the information you need to do so.

Please join MEIC every Thursday from 5-5:30 pm by clicking this link.

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