Recently Rep. Jerry O’Neil described his “quandary,” with the tax reform pledge. In this letter, he voiced his opposition to tax incentives for renewable energy. Interestingly enough, I read last week that these tax incentives led to the historic power purchase agreement between Flathead Electric and Stoltze Lumber, adding power from biomass technology into the grid beginning in 2013. Described as a “win-win deal for jobs, alternative energy, and forest health,” I can certainly understand all the excitement.
I believe renewable energy can become an integral and valuable part of Montana’s energy portfolio. While we need to continue to responsibly utilize our coal, natural gas and oil, the addition of renewable energy can benefit us all. O’Neil’s inability to see these benefits and an unwillingness to support this progress, in my opinion, displays a lack of both leadership and foresight. By investing in renewable energy, we can create quality jobs and take steps toward energy independence.