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Local-Motion Tour Promotes Montana Food and Fuel

June 13, 2008

Billings, MT – An innovative, converted school bus powered by biodiesel kicks off a seven-state tour today in Billings to promote how local fuel and products are tied to good-paying jobs and cash for rural communities. The power for onboard computers comes from the sun, and the food for the crew comes from local farms and ranches. It's called the "Homegrown Prosperity Bus" and it will visit 40 towns this summer.

Randy Joseph, chair of the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC), says locally-grown energy is a hot topic right now because of high gas and diesel prices.

"There are many, many reasons to seriously consider local energy, because it keeps our money in our communities rather than sending it all over the world in the hope that some benefit will come back."

Joseph hopes the bus will inspire people to realize there are things they can do to promote locally sustainable communities.

"We want to raise awareness of what's happening in our communities, and how the average person can get more involved. We promote farmers markets, and the ability of schools to purchase from local farmers. Those ideas and more are part of the program."

Reducing climate change pollution ties into local, renewable fuel goals, Joseph adds, because Montana has already seen the effects with persistent drought, wildfires, and bug infestations. However, some scientists say those problems are related more to natural weather cycles than to a changing climate.

WORC and the Northern Plains Resource Council are sponsoring the bus tour, which kicks off today at 10:00 AM at the Northern Plains office, 220 S. 27th St., Billings. The bus will travel through Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Idaho and Oregon.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - MT