More jobs. The two words every Montanan was promised by candidates running for the state Legislature. Many of these now-elected officials plan on living up to their promises, but I have to question the sincerity of Rep. Derek Skees, R-Whitefish, now that he has introduced House Bill 244, which attempts to repeal our Renewable Energy Standard.
While I have many questions as to why R Skees would introduce such a bill, the real question to ask is: Would repealing the RES create more jobs? The plain answer is “no” – it would achieve the opposite.
The RES, which passed in 2005 with bipartisan support, requires regulated utility companies to get at least 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2015. This law has resulted in renewable energy companies coming to Montana, bringing jobs and economic development with it.
It is true that Montana has ample energy resources, important for jobs and economic growth. Renewable sources like wind, solar and biomass are no exception. The RES does not hamper other types of energy development, but it does create the opportunity to capitalize on all of our abundant resources. Not to mention, developing renewable sources helps keep our air clean and our drinking water safe.
Two Flathead representatives serve on the House Energy Committee, Skees and Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell. I urge you to contact these committee members, as well as your own representative, telling them to vote noon HB 244. In a time of economic hardship, repealing the RES is bad policy and bad for jobs in Montana.
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