In Montana, public lands are a top priority with bipartisan support. With diehard skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, hikers, climbers, anglers and hunters making up the population, it’s not hard to see why. On the ground, massive wildfires have ravaged the state for years and are the most tangible effect of climate change on Montanans.
When popular governor Steve Bullock entered the Senate race at the 11th hour, the map changed instantly. Instead of being a likely GOP hold, the state moved to being a toss-up. Furthermore, as the summer moved to fall, the race for U.S. House of Representatives has moved from a lean Republican to a toss-up, with polls showing Democrat Kathleen Williams with a slight lead over her opponent Matt Rosendale.
Bullock has previously supported a price on carbon, and during his 2019 Presidential campaign, he said a price on carbon “should certainly be on the table. I think that could be part of it.”
Governor Bullock’s pledge to transition to completely carbon neutral by 2040 or sooner includes heavy investment into renewable energy research and development, increasing automobile fuel efficiency standards, and stopping fossil fuel extraction on public lands. He was one of the few Mountain West state governors to commit to achieving its pledged emissions reductions under the Paris Agreement.
He has said, “We need aggressive investments in renewable energy sources. In Montana, we doubled our wind power and quadrupled our solar during my tenure as governor. We can do that and more across the country as part of meeting our emissions reduction goals.”
During his time as Governor, Montana adopted the Blueprint for Montana’s Energy future, which sought to double solar development by 2025, advocate for more funding and tax credits for carbon capture and other low carbon technologies, reduce electric energy use by 10 percent by 2025, and expand incentives for renewable power.
He also established a Montana Climate Solutions Council to identify solutions to reduce emissions, prepare for climate impacts, and address the needs of communities in transition.
He has said, “We need to rejoin Paris. We can’t do this alone. We need to set both the long-term and short term goals to become carbon neutral, fundamentally, I think that we can do that.”
On reducing reliance on coal, Bullock has supported a long-term strategy with slow reductions in coal development. Although he made plans to comply with the Clean Power Plan, he thought the EPA’s requirements for Montana were too rigorous.
Governor Bullock supports limiting fossil fuel extraction on public lands. As a Presidential candidate, he pledged to have net-zero emissions on all public lands by 2030 and opposed Trump administration efforts to increase energy production on public lands.
“Climate change continues to threaten our public lands. But instead of working to protect them, this President is trying to sell them off to Big Polluters at each opportunity. Neither is acceptable.”
Governor Bullock opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, having said, “ANWR is one of the most pristine places on our planet. Donald Trump, Republican leaders, and Dark Money groups representing the energy industry are taking us backward by gutting pollution standards and expanding drilling.”
However, Governor Bullock did support the construction of the Keystone Pipeline in 2015 and spoke out against President Obama’s veto.
As Governor, Bullock appointed a council to address climate change and supported its recommendation to update building efficiency standards, creating tax incentives for low-emission vehicles and the development of electric vehicle charging stations
Bullock supports increased auto efficiency standards in order to incentivize low-carbon vehicle innovation and production.
Governor Bullock joined other Governors through the western states in a memorandum of understanding to develop regional electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the Intermountain West.
Williams is committed to meeting America’s commitment to the Paris Climate Accord.
Williams plans to refocus the climate crisis on science and ensure that investors disclose material climate-related investment risks to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Williams plans to help Montana farmers and ranchers improve soil health for increased carbon capture, which is projected to capture more carbon than the transportation sector emits.
Williams plans to retain and advance incentives for the development and adoption of electric vehicles. The transportation sector is one of the highest generators of greenhouse gasses in the US, and these actions provide a high bang-for-the-buck return in terms of carbon reductions.
Williams plans to promote investment in renewable energy storage through battery innovation.
Williams plans to promote energy efficiency and local food sources as a means of combating climate change.
Williams pledges to ensure Montanans’ access to public lands, and that the managing agencies have the resources and support they need to do their jobs and achieve their missions.
Williams worked for four decades in conservation.