Ravalli County volunteers are coordinating with statewide grassroots teams gathering signatures to put Initiative 187 on the ballot in November of 2020. I-187 is a proposal to stimulate the transition to renewable energy sources while also addressing inevitable impacts on fossil fuel workers and on Montana’s energy economy.
In October, public one-hour information Q&A sessions on I-187 will be offered at the three Ravalli County public library conference rooms: Tuesday, October 15 at 12:30 p.m. in Hamilton or Stevensville at 5:30 p.m.; and Wednesday, October 16 at 5:30 p.m. in Darby. Author of I-187, attorney Russ Doty of the nonprofit MTCARES (Montana Community Affordable Renewable Energy Saves), will be present as part of his statewide tour for I-187.
Doty states, “Initiative sponsor Rev. Ken Crouch of Billings trusts this comprehensive renewable energy policy act will enable Montanans to join with 196 nations and almost every religion in meeting our obligations to steward our earth home. It’ll reduce CO2 levels that are over-heating Montana’s cropland, forests, and trout streams.
“The initiative requires investor-owned utilities gradually to supply 52% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2027, 80% by 2034. Even higher standards may be negotiated locally. Electric Cooperative compliance is voluntary subject to member vote.”
Local volunteer organizer Pamela Morris of Corvallis says that I-187 is a “game-changer” promoting economical, renewable electricity while providing retraining, enhanced unemployment benefits, and pension support for displaced fossil fuel workers. I-187 will help communities and tribes in coal-dependent areas that are affected by our transition away from coal as it replaces revenue lost from coal taxes and royalties that our state and local governments and some tribes are experiencing,” said Morris.
“A Government Accounting Office Report r recently concluded if we don’t act now to reduce CO2, taxpayers will be on the hook for $12-$35 billion more weather-related costs each year by the middle of the century,” said Doty.
“I-187 will help curb that problem while, too, offering us customers more cost stability,” says Morris.
“To facilitate career transfers for those who will need to retrain as coal use diminishes, I-187 creates more than $359 million in financial help for 1,900 Montana fossil fuel workers and approximately 5,100 other citizens in coal dependent communities and tribal areas,” said Doty. “Also, I-187 helps keep Montana products competitive by shielding the 36,000 Montana farm, ranch, ski, sport fishing and tourism jobs that are projected to be lost if we let over-use of fossil fuel continue unabated. To address additional labor issues, I-187 requires safe grid interconnection of renewable projects with construction and operation to be completed by Montana labor earning prevailing wages.”
Go to www.mtcares.org for detailed information on I-187 or to volunteer to gather signatures. Ravalli County citizens interested in signing I-187 or helping can contact Pamela Morris at [email protected], phone 406-961-8880.