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Montanans Rally for Clean Power in Helena

One focus of Wednesday's rally is legislation that could help finance energy-efficiency upgrades for commercial buildings. (Northern Plains Resource Council)
One focus of Wednesday's rally is legislation that could help finance energy-efficiency upgrades for commercial buildings. (Northern Plains Resource Council)
January 23, 2019

HELENA, Mont. - Montanans are to gather at noon today outside the State Capitol to support clean energy in Big Sky Country.

Folks at the Clean Power for All rally are calling on state lawmakers, now in their third week of the session, to provide better access to renewable energy. Mary Fitzpatrick, a member of the clean-energy task force at Northern Plains Resource Council, the grassroots agriculture group hosting the event, said climate change is a major concern in Montana.

"We need to do our share of minimizing climate change because Montana is already being affected by it in our recreation, outdoor industries and agriculture," she said. "So, we need to do our share to cut energy emissions."

Fitzpatrick said she believes investing in renewables would save Montanans and the state money in the long run, and will create jobs. Northern Plains will be on the defensive against any legislation its members decide would be detrimental to a clean-energy future, she said. The group also is pushing for a bill this session known as the "Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy" program.

"That's a financing tool that already exists in other states," she said, "that makes no-money-down, upfront financial opportunities available for commercial buildings and farmers, ranchers and nonprofits to do energy-efficiency upgrades."

Thirty-six states have passed bills to enable the program. Fitzpatrick said it also would help businesses install clean-energy generating systems, such as solar or wind. She added that retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient, and even generate energy, would save property owners money.

More information on the Clean Power for All rally is online at northernplains.org.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT