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By Neal Ullman

The impacts and evidence of climate change continue to grow. MEIC’s work to bring change is more important than ever, and reducing emissions is a key part of that. MEIC continues to protect access to clean energy options and fight against dirty fossil fuels. Federal funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will help us speed the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and head off the worst effects of climate change. Luckily, we know clean energy technologies can work in Montana because they already are!

If you’ve ever met me, you know I’m into clean transportation. As a proud owner of both fully-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, I sometimes forget how to use the gas pump! I leave my home every morning with a full charge and simply plug in when I get home. We’ve taken our electric car on camping trips in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, and have driven to Oregon to visit family and friends.

Does owning an electric car in Montana have its limitations and require extra planning? Of course. But tax credits from the IRA can make buying an electric vehicle more affordable for many Montanans and can also help with adding a home charging system and upgrading your home’s circuit panel. More fast-charging locations will start popping up soon thanks to BIL funding for the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program going through the Montana Department of Transportation.

In addition, electric school buses, transit buses, and street sweepers are working across Montana. In some cases, electric school buses in Havre and Bigfork were the only buses that could operate at -30° F to -40° F temperatures. Helping to protect the health of students and bus drivers by reducing harmful emissions that can lead to respiratory illness, these electric vehicles are growing in popularity thanks to funds from the BIL for EPA’s Clean School Bus Program. Another 41 electric school buses were awarded to seven school districts in Montana last month with more funding opportunities on the way!

What good is an electric vehicle if the energy that powers it comes from fossil fuels? In Montana, we’re lucky to have abundant, carbon-free energy from hydro, wind, and solar. My electricity comes from the solar panels on my house and the hydro dams on the Missouri. Montanans living in electric cooperative territory in western Montana do even better with energy that’s nearly 97% carbon free! 

But more can be done! Tax credits for solar panels on your home can help you generate clean energy for your home. The newest solar farm near Dillon was a significant addition for Montana, and wind power during last month’s cold snap kept running even as Colstrip Unit 4 failed for undisclosed reasons (see article on pg. 12).

If you’re wondering if these new technologies can work for your community, home, or business, just look around Montana or ask the knowledgeable staff at MEIC – we all need to act before climate change becomes even worse.


Neal Ullman has advocated for Montana’s environment both in Congress and alongside MEIC’s lobby team as a lobbyist for Montana Conservation Voters. As a congressional staffer, he defended the Clean Water Rule and the Clean Air Act. Neal works tirelessly to address climate change, expand clean energy, and protect Montana’s streams and rivers.


This article was published in the March 2024 issue of Down To Earth. 

Read the full issue here.


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