FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 12, 2015
Tim Crowe, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, (406) 444-9844
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, 444.9725
Helena, Mont. – Today, Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order creating the Interim Montana Clean Power Plan Advisory Council. The Council will gather information and provide recommendations on policies and actions necessary for the State of Montana to keep control over its energy future, protecting Montana’s economy and quality of life.
The Council will review applicable memoranda and guidance, information on rate and mass-based compliance tools, economic and reliability modeling, and the work of other states and entities. At the conclusion of this process, the Council will make recommendations to MDEQ regarding the filing of an Initial Submittal and request for an extension under EPA’s §111(d) rules.
“Rolling up our sleeves and getting to work now is critical to keep our energy future in the hands of Montanans,” Bullock said. “We need to move forward with a sense of purpose to ensure the Montana we enjoy today continues to be the Montana future generations inherit.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized its Clean Power Plan rule on October 23, 2015. The final rule was substantially different from the proposed rules released in 2014, and Montana’s requirement for reduction of CO2 emissions significantly increased to 47%. The reductions directed by the EPA are required to be achieved by 2030.
“I believe we must take action to address climate change. Earlier this year, my administration began making plans to build a Montana-based solution to the proposed rule, that would have both protected existing jobs and created new ones. But the EPA changed course and has now imposed on Montana the largest emissions cut of any state. The EPA's unilateral mandate is unfair to the people of Montana,” said Bullock
“But we cannot sit on our hands and do nothing. While the courts determine the fate of the rule, we will do the responsible thing, bring Montanans together, and prepare a Montana-based solution, so that we are never in the position of having a policy imposed on us by bureaucrats in Washington DC.,” said Bullock
Changing market conditions and the Clean Power Plan will most certainly affect all aspects of power production in the state. Montana’s coal industry will most notably face the stiffest challenges in the years ahead. Protecting this industry, getting smarter about energy efficiency, and growing the renewable energy sector is vital to our future and to ensuring Montana’s clean air and water remains unthreatened.
Governor Bullock believes Montanans are up to the challenge of guiding our energy future and fashioned the Clean Power Plan Advisory Council after the successful work of his sage grouse council, which created a science-based plan good enough to stave off federal intervention in the bird’s management.
“When Montanans work together, we achieve remarkable results.” said Bullock.
The path to comply with EPA’s §111(d) rules will most certainly affect Montana’s economy and quality of life Accordingly , the Governor will select a wide variety of Montanans to serve on the Council representing interests such as coal-fired power plant owners and investor-owned utilities, conservation and environment, hunters and anglers, electric cooperatives and large industrial electric customers, organized labor, renewable energy, energy efficiency, tribal, coal mining, Public Service Commission and Montana Consumer Counsel, and Legislature.
"We need a Montana solution for the Clean Power Plan. I know with Governor Bullock's leadership we can create the best possible plan for our state and our workers," said Rex Rogers Business Manager IBEW Local 1638 Colstrip Montana.
“As a renewable power developer, I want to thank Governor Bullock for his leadership and bringing Montanans together to keep our energy decisions in the hands of Montanans,” said Ron Cooper, of Wind Chasers in Bozeman. “There may be opportunities for Montana’s renewable power industry to create new jobs for Montanans, and bring economic development to the rural parts of the state.”
Interested Montanans will be able to apply to serve on the council by visiting boards.mt.gov. Applications are due by November 30. The council will provide recommendations to the state by July, 2016.