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Look at the power we have gathered here today! We need leadership now more than ever. Montana leaders can and MUST do better. But that will only happen with a loud, persistent and unified voice.

Right now, we have a utility that is pushing to invest in more coal, while other utilities and investors are exiting in droves because of the climate crisis. 

Our public service commission has repeatedly refused to consider the climate crisis and require utilities to modernize and provide clean, affordable power. 

The legislature and the governor continually bow to last century’s fossil fuel industry, pretending like it is 1950. They missed the memo that it is 2023, and times and the energy system have changed because of the climate crisis. We have less than 10 years to get it together.

Right now, our legislature is taking away local control in communities that are trying in many different ways to solve this crisis. Many of you here are working in communities across the state to do something. Local governments should have the right to listen to their constituents and address the climate crisis now. Legislators 500 miles away should not have the right to take away a community’s ability to do what its constituents demand. 

The only way we make change is to demand it now. Not next week, not next year – now. We’re here, we’re doing the work, and we’re ready. It’s time for our leadership to listen and take action, and do their part so that we can truly have a clean and healthful environment for present and future generations, not just short term economic gains for a privileged few.

The solutions are at our fingertips, but too many politicians are afraid to act. Here’s a shoutout to all the politicians who are here today who are doing their best, who are trying hard every day. Thank you. 

It is time all politicians start working for us and start taking swift action that will prevent more catastrophes and more suffering. Today we have Republicans and Democrats here, we have hunters and anglers, businesses, investors, shareholders, agricultural producers – all insisting on change. We have the momentum, but we don’t have the time.

We don’t have time to pay billions of dollars to a utility to destroy the climate so it can expand fossil fuel resources and enrich its shareholders and executives at our expense. We cannot afford a utility that wants to raise our rates 25% and more in its quest to destroy our climate along with peoples’ lives and livelihoods in the world on which we depend. We need to ensure workers are supported in the transition to a cleaner, more modern energy system. But we don’t have time. We must demand change at every level of government. 

We must be loud, we must be insistent, we must be unified, and we must hurry. 

Anne Hedges
Climate Advocacy Day, 1/20/23


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