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Climate change and global warming are important issues for Montanans. Coming changes will broadly impact our economic sectors and put inevitable strain on state resources. Challenges need to be addressed, especially in agricultural, business and tourism sectors where impacts are already being felt. The unpredictable weather patterns of a changing climate continue to have drastic consequences and Montana needs to be prepared.

Along with planning for the future, we need to address the causes of climate change and hold fossil fuel industries accountable in the communities where they operate and beyond. I urge my fellow gubernatorial candidates to follow my pledge to reject the influence of fossil fuel money in their campaigns and instead plan for a just, climate-safe, renewable energy future for everyone.

As governor, I'll be assembling a task force to develop “Montana 2030,” a sustainability plan looking at renewable energy, water conservation, increasing food security, clean transportation, waste reduction, smart growth and stimulating a diversified economy while supporting indigenous culture and human rights. Using knowledge to build resiliency in our state systems is the right move for Montana.

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We can build a sustainable future without depending on fossils to fuel a boom-and-bust energy economy certain to self-destruct.

Reilly Neill of Livingston is a Democratic candidate for Montana governor. 

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