Montana is ready, able, and eager to accept the challenges put forth by President Obama in his recent speech at Georgetown University in which he announced aggressive new standards and goals for the reform and renewal of America’s energy production and consumption.
Montana and states throughout the Rockies now have enormous opportunities to dramatically change the way Americans produce and receive electricity. With his announcement President Obama has begun that transition.
The President’s energy proposals are, happily, right smack in our state’s wheelhouse. His call for accepting the reality of climate change will result in significant benefits to Montana, including change. But, hey, we are good at that. Of all the states in the Northern Rockies, Montana has been the most progressive at recognizing both the challenge and opportunities of tomorrow’s promise. Getting on with the tasks presents genuine challenges, but Montanans and Americans fully understand that the current and future threats inherent in our changing climate require us to roll up our sleeves and get on with the job.
Our state is now called upon to take a vital role in reducing carbon emissions – we can do that and profit immensely by it. We are being asked to provide cleaner coal as a necessary short-term bridge to a future powered by alternative and renewable energy: hydroelectric, solar and wind. That challenge is right down our alley and means more jobs, dollars, and profits. Those of us living in the Mountain West will benefit greatly from the careful construction and placement of alternative energy platforms, large and small.
There is no doubt that the White House is adopting many ideas already written by a Montanan. Senator Jon Tester has offered proposals to reach energy efficiency, renewable energy resources, and help shorten the transition from our almost complete reliance on traditional forms of energy to cleaner and more efficient resources.
Avoiding timidity and accepting this opportunity will assure each Montanan, including potential financial investors, a better tomorrow.
Our state’s long-term energy economy will be secured in a manner that creates many new jobs, cleans our skies, clears our lungs, and frankly, fattens our wallets. We will install more efficient hydro facilities, construct hundreds of new wind turbines and increase the use of solar panels. And don’t forget there are jobs in creating improved processes to capture and sequester carbon dioxide from coal plants – a major piece of the President’s cleaner coal proposal. Montanans used to call such opportunity “pay dirt.”
Pat Williams served nine terms as a U.S. Representative from Montana. After his retirement, he returned to Montana and taught at The University of Montana.