Staff

Cari Kimball

development director  |  Billings, MT

As of fall 2018, Cari Kimball is MEIC’s development director working to grow and engage the membership and to fund and communicate our crucial work. MEIC’s mission of protecting Montana’s clean air, water, and awe-inspiring landscapes is embedded in her DNA.

In other professional capacities, Cari has raised money for a variety of non-profits, noodled up conservation science-art projects, executed door-to-door political campaigns, and facilitated conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Cari holds a B.S. from Linfield College and an M.S. from the University of Montana, both in Environmental Studies.
Cari grew up outside of Billings watching the Beartooths on the horizon. When she’s not engaged in the hustle, she feeds her soul by hitting the trails with her husband, Brian, and daughter, Ruby.

Contact Cari at [email protected]

Brian Fadie

Clean Energy Program Director  |  Laurel, MT

As Clean Energy Program Director, Brian advocates for local, state, and federal policies that will accelerate the development of Montana’s clean energy and energy efficiency economy by working with MEIC’s members, elected officials, and community leaders.

Contact Brian at [email protected]

Mel Griffin

Special projects  |  Missoula, MT

In 2012, Mel moved from Minneapolis to Helena to pursue a career in the arts. She immediately fell in love with Montana’s beautiful trails and rivers and decided to make the relocation permanent.

Mel spends most of her time working with MEIC’s highest contributors.

Before joining the MEIC staff, Mel was a Resident Artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, and also worked as a college professor and outdoor educator. She continues to work as a professional ceramic artist and illustrator from her new studio and home in the Scratchgravel Hills.

In her free time, Mel can be found trail running, cooking, and observing and drawing wildlife.

Contact Mel at: [email protected]

Anne Hedges

DEPUTY DIRECTOR & LEAD LOBBYIST  |  Harding, MT

Anne Hedges is deputy director and lead lobbyist for the Montana Environmental Information Center where she has worked on pollution related issues for 24 years. She works with elected officials and government agencies to adopt, interpret, and enforce strong environmental regulations. She helps organize individuals and communities to effectively participate and influence government decisions. Her work currently focuses on minimizing climate change and protecting air and water from the impacts of fossil fuel development.

Anne received her B.S. in environmental policy analysis and planning from the University of California at Davis and a Masters of Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. She spent two years in the Peace Corps as an environmental education volunteer in Paraguay.

In 2006 Anne was given an award by the Montana Wildlife Federation for her outstanding work lobbying on behalf of conservation interests. She also received a similar award from Women’s Voices for the Earth two years earlier. In December 2008, the Helena-based Cinnabar Foundation recognized Anne with its highest award, the Len and Sandy Sargent Stewardship Award. In September 2010, Anne received the Outstanding Preservation Leadership award from the Montana Preservation Alliance for “Championing Preservation of the Great Falls Portage National Historic Landmark.”

Contact Anne at: [email protected]

Jim Jensen

Executive director, lobbyist  |  Helena, MT

Jim Jensen has been MEIC’s Executive Director since 1985. Previously he served in the Montana House of Representatives from Billings where he was a member of the Natural Resources, Fish and Game, and Judiciary committees. Prior to taking his present position he was a lobbyist for various interests including the elderly, child care providers, and judges. From 1990 to 1994 he was an elected supervisor of the Lewis and Clark County Conservation District.

In 1988 Jim was a founding member of the State Environmental Leadership Program, a national network of state-based environmental groups headquartered in Madison, WI.

In 1989 he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush and reappointed by President Bill Clinton to a Federal Advisory Committee to the U.S. EPA Administrator on mine waste regulation. He also served as a member of the Western Governors Association’s Mine Waste Advisory Group. In 1998 he authored and was the chief advocate for a successful ballot initiative that banned open-pit cyanide-leach gold mining in Montana.

He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Boulder, CO-based Western Clean Energy Campaign and is on the board of directors of the Portland, OR-based Renewable Northwest Project. He was a founding steering committee member of the Seattle based Northwest Climate Connections (now a program of Climate Solutions), a collaborative organization of private businesses, governments and public interest groups who are working to substantially reduce green house gas emissions in the Pacific Northwest (including British Columbia) through voluntary, co-operative and incentive based approaches.

He attended Westminster College in Salt Lake City and holds a B.A. in Political Science from the Univ. of Montana (1980).

Contact Jim at: [email protected]

Derf Johnson

clean water program director, staff attorney  |  Laurel, MT

Derf Johnson has served as the clean water program director since 2010. In this role, Derf is a policy advocate, attorney, and lobbyist, and works primarily on coal, oil and gas development, and hard rock mining. Derf is also leading the Save Our Smith campaign.

Derf grew up in Montana’s Gallatin Valley. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Montana School of Law, and his bachelor of arts in environmental studies and anthropology from the University of Montana. During law school, Derf worked in the land use planning clinic and served as a staff member for the Public Lands and Resources Law Review. He has a certificate in Natural Resources Conflict Resolution from the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, and he is a member of the Montana Bar Association (MBA) and the MBA section on Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment. Derf has volunteered and worked previously with Montana Conservation Voters and the Montana Public Interest Research Group. Prior to joining MEIC, Derf worked as a statewide outreach coordinator for I-164, the successful statewide ballot initiative addressing predatory payday lending. He also lobbied during the 2007 session on consumer issues and voter access.

In his free time, Derf enjoys rafting and fishing Montana’s rivers, hiking, biking, skiing, and climbing in our beautiful mountain ranges, and picking a banjo tune.

Contact Derf at: [email protected]

Adam McLane

Business manager  |  Harding, MT

With MEIC since 1985, Adam manages MEIC’s finances, helps on member recruiting and fundraising, edits MEIC publications, and assists on other projects. He maintains all MEIC’s databases and mailing lists. He has a B.A. in History from Williams College (1960), an M.B.A. in Accounting from Stanford University (1968), is a Certified Public Accountant, and has worked for nonprofit organizations since 1972.

Contact Adam at: [email protected]

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors has complete legal control of MEIC and overall responsibility for its well-being and success.

Bob Gentry

president  |  Missoula, MT

Shortly after accepting employment with the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program in 1996, Bob became acquainted with MEIC’s work. He quickly discovered that if there was a Montana watershed or a mountain that touched his heart, or some aspect of our natural environment essential to healthy biodiversity, MEIC had a hand in advocating for them, for him, and for all of us.

Since 1993, Bob has practiced law, focusing on environmental protection, preservation, restoration, and enforcement. In 2009 he opened his private environmental, social justice, and civil rights practice.

Bob looks forward to the opportunity of providing his assistance to MEIC’s outstanding board and staff. He says, “Together we can continue to assist our elected representatives to look before they leap, to think before they act, and thereby continue to make real and meaningful our constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment.”

Kim Wilson

Vice President  |  Helena, MT

I serve on the MEIC Board because MEIC is the only state organization in Montana effectively and comprehensively focusing on the most important issue of our time, climate change. Its work on this issue over the years has been groundbreaking and effective, a breath of fresh air, so to speak, in a very dysfunctional political system dominated in Montana by forces and political parties who refuse to face the reality of climate change and their responsibilities as leaders to do something about it.

I’ve been actively involved in MEIC since I first became a board member in 1986, beginning a four-year stint on the Board and serving as president for the last two. Since then I have represented MEIC in numerous lawsuits seeking to enforce Montanans’ unique rights to a clean and healthful environment and to know about our governments’ operations. I’m always in awe of the MEIC’s staff, and their commitment to the organization and its causes. MEIC has stayed true to its vision during the past quarter-century of my involvement with the organization, and I want to work with MEIC while it continues this vital work into the future.

Dustin Leftridge

Secretary  |  kalispell, MT

Dustin grew up in the Mountains of Western Montana and the Redwoods of the Pacific Northwest. Between surfing in the Pacific and skiing the slopes of Big Mountain, his passion for the outdoors inspired his academic path into policy and law.

He attended The University of Montana for his undergraduate degrees in Geology and Political Science where he served as the president of the student body and the board chair of the Montana Public Interest Research Group. Dustin received his J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Public Land and Resources Law Review and interned for the U.S. Forest Service.

During his summers, Dustin worked as a river guide throughout Montana and Idaho, where his admiration for wild places, such as the Middle Fork of the Salmon, inspired his career in conservation and public interest law.  Dustin currently serves on the board of directors for Citizens for a Better Flathead and works as a trial attorney for McGarvey, Heberling, Sullivan and Lacey P.C. in Kalispell.

John Rundquist

Treasurer  |  helena, MT

I love Montana. How lucky we are to live close to the rivers, streams, lakes, plains, mountains, wildlife, small towns, and colorful history that make Montana unique and special in the world. She deserves our protection for all generations, present and future.

Much of my professional career involved working with municipal governments to implement state and federal rules originating with the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. I am recently retired, but still very committed to bringing my experience and perspective to water quality and water policy in our state.

I’ve admired MEIC and its accomplishments for many years. I feel that no other organization in Montana has done more to preserve our constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment. Its record of success is unprecedented. I would like to do my part to help MEIC continue strongly in its mission.

Alexis Bonogofsky

Billings, MT

As a fourth generation Montanan, hunter, rancher, and outdoor recreationist, protecting Montana’s natural resources is extremely important to me. MEIC is in the top tier of most effective statewide organizations protecting our land, water, and air for future generations, and keeping Montana’s environmental laws strong. I have worked for over a decade on energy development issues with Tribes and tribal communities throughout the West, and specifically in the Powder River Basin of southeastern Montana, and understand the conservation challenges facing rural and tribal communities. As a member of MEIC’s Board, I hope to bring that experience and voice to Helena and help MEIC remain one of Montana’s strongest environmental organizations.

Greg Findley

Bozeman, MT

I founded and run a tourism business that sends travelers on sustainable adventures in Latin America. I have spent the past 35 years exploring wild places in the U.S. and overseas, and have guided numerous clients on some of the world’s best and most remote rivers and trails. Although I often travel overseas for work, I have deep roots in Montana and the
Yellowstone ecosystem, having lived in the area since 1982. My wife and I are raising two young sons in Bozeman, and keeping Montana’s rivers, lakes, forests and mountains pristine for future generations is of great importance to me.

Everywhere I go in my travels I see the impacts of environmental destruction, including climate change, and am determined to fight to protect Montana’s amazing natural resources. In particular, I am extremely concerned about global warming, as we know that we cannot allow our planet to warm much more before Montana’s natural resources are impacted forever. I strongly believe that MEIC should continue to lead the fight against global warming here in Montana, and that is why I am running for the MEIC Board of Directors.

Steve Gilbert

Helena, MT

Montana’s constitution gives us the right to a clean and healthful environment. MEIC is the only environmental organization in Montana working every day to safeguard that right. I am thankful for their tenacity in the daily battles with those who would trade our clean air and water for fat paychecks. I am proud to have been an MEIC member and member of the Board for many years, and would like to continue my support through the Board as long as you’ll have me.

Greg Lind

MISSOULA, MT

I moved to Montana in 1997. The prior decade had been spent in Utah where the battle over protecting amazing landscapes distilled and defined my environmental and political views. Sometime after arrival in Missoula I asked around about active environmental organizations and was pointed to MEIC. I became a member and eventually (after a conversation or two with Jim Jensen) a board member. It was during that time, and in my four years in the Montana Senate, that I saw firsthand the effectiveness of the organization and the quality of the staff. Personally, I believe that we would all be better off if governments, corporations, and individuals were forced to capture the costs of their activities (not socialize their CO2 , mercury, and arsenic, to name a few). Sooner or later we will all realize that the supply of natural landscapes and wild places is finite and shrinking – I for one hope that realization comes very soon. Everyone loves a winner and I want to return to the MEIC Board to work on important issues with great people.

Jennifer Swearingen

bozeman, MT

I became acquainted with MEIC when I joined Montanans Against Toxic Burning, a group formed to fight waste incineration in our local cement kiln. MEIC became an invaluable ally, educating us about our right to participate in government permitting actions, helping us review arcane regulations, and guiding us in grassroots organization. After successfully blocking the local proposal, MATB took those crucial skills to the national level to achieve stronger emissions standards for all cement kilns in the US. I worked closely with Earthjustice and met several times with EPA officials, as part of a national coalition of advocates. The lesson for me: citizen advocacy is essential to protecting our environmental values. But you’ve got to know how to fight in order to win. MEIC empowers citizen advocates in that fight.

MEIC is bringing that same talent to the fight against climate change. Because I see our warming planet as the greatest threat to our environment, I strongly support MEIC’s commitment to challenging new coal mining and advocating for renewable energy.

Augusta “Gusty” Clarke

helena, MT

Gusty is the development manager at The Montana Land Reliance, and has worked with environmental organizations including the Conservation Law Foundation, the Trust for Public Land, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Swan Valley Connections. Gusty graduated from Brown University with a degree in Environmental Studies, focusing in particular on the foundations of environmental law and community-based conservation.

Eight family cross-country moves introduced Gusty to a wide variety of ecosystems, environmental issues, and communities which she has experienced through fly fishing, sailing, surfing, outrigger canoeing, hiking, and hunting. Gusty recognizes the value of Montana’s open spaces and intact ecosystems and is committed to protecting them as an advocate and MEIC board member.

Charles Besancon

Missoula, MT

MEIC appeals to me very much because of its non-partisan perspective and focus on issues dear to my heart like landscape protection, climate change and clean water. I have 24 years of professional experience as a policy analyst, facilitating United Nations environmental negotiations, conducting environmental impact analyses, training park managers in planning, and promoting sustainable biodiversity financing.

Montana has been home since 1995 when I studied for a Master’s Degree at the University of Montana through the College of Forestry and Conservation. I’m back in Missoula after 13 years away working for the UN and other international environmental organizations. After working on six continents, and spending too much time away from my favorite mountains and rivers, it’s time to be back and to devote some of my energy to local issues.

Bruce Bender

Missoula, MT

I was born and raised in farming area outside Miles City. It gave me a sense of the good land and also good community working together. I graduated from MSU in Chemical Engineering but grew to want to work protecting our water, air, and land.. I was fortunate to work in City government for City of Helena for five years and 32 years for City of Missoula where the priority was to protect our rivers, the natural places, and our quality of life.

Now that I am retired my priority is to work on mitigating the affects of Climate Change and protecting the wonderful open places: the rivers and lakes, wilderness areas, wild life, and our opportunities to enjoy it . MEIC gives me the opportunity to support these efforts.

 

Erica Rosenberg

WASHINGTON, D.C.

I’ve been involved with environmental and natural resources policy for over 30 years in a variety of capacities, both in DC and the West: Congressional committee staffer, U.S. EPA attorney (tribal attorney in Denver, air attorney in DC), academic, state DEQ advisor, NGO board president (of Western Lands, where I worked closely with MEIC board member Steve Gilbert, and of the American Lands Alliance). I’ve had years of experience advocating for public lands in the West, and my wide-ranging experience has familiarized me with NGOs, and state and federal politics surrounding a range of environmental issues.

Lowell Chandler

Missoula, MT

As a Westerner, who grew up in Montana, I’ve been fortunate to explore many of the wild lands of Montana and the West. My interest in wild lands and our shared environment eventually grew into a passion for protecting them, which is exactly why I joined the MEIC Board of Directors. As the most effective and dynamic environmental organization in Montana, I look forward to putting my skills to work to help MEIC protect and strengthen our constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment.

When I’m not spending time outside enjoying the lands we love, I’m hard at work protecting them. During undergrad, I cofounded the Montana-based Blue Skies Campaign and Coal Export Action to help build opposition against coal exports, which is where I first met the great folks at MEIC. After receiving my degree in Geography with a double major in Environmental Studies in 2012 from the University of Montana, I ventured to D.C. to work at the Environmental Investigation Agency as a Climate Policy Analyst. After four years in D.C., I came home to pursue my law degree at the University of Montana School of Law, and I’ve since gained valuable litigation experience as a summer law clerk for the Montana offices of WildEarth Guardians and Earthjustice. I currently serve as the 2018-19 Publications Editor of the Public Land & Resources Law Review and participate at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition for the Montana team.

I’m excited to be a Board Member of MEIC, and together, we’ll keep fighting the good fight!

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