Another Oil Sheen on the Water

Support the Energy Innovation Act

By Robin Paone

It’s been 30 years since the Whitefish Lake diesel spill. It still haunts us with recurring oil sheens. One is there now. Damage and threats to Montana’s land and water from coal, oil and gas continues. Google “Koocanusa selenium pollution,” “Colstrip water contamination,” “Yellowstone River oil spill,” “Badger-Two Medicine drilling.”

I am grateful for fossil fuels, which have boosted our country to incredible advancement. However, cheaper, cleaner energy is now common sense. Let’s put these unfair fossil fuel disasters behind us.

How do we get there? A gentle, but persistent nudge with a strong dose of fairness is needed. The bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, HR763, puts a low but rising price on pollution and returns that money equally to households.

With predictability, American investment in clean technology will become a priority. Rewarding companies that are most efficient and pollute the least is fair. It is also fair for every household to get a monthly payment. Middle and lower income households come out ahead with this policy. By choosing things sourced with less pollution, which will be cheaper, you’ll have more spending money. Think Flathead cherries instead of those trucked from California.

As a plus, when we stop burning fossil fuels we slow climate change. Our local Hilary Hutcheson, a nationally known fly-fishing guide, said “it’s truly becoming independent of fossil fuels that’s going to do the trick” when commenting on climate change in Todd Tanner’s 2019 film “In the Heart of the Rockies.”

Local Ryan Busse, chair of the Board for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, has said the biggest action we can take on climate change is to contact our state representatives. So, take action now. Ask Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte to support the Energy Innovation Act. See energyinnovationact.org.

Robin Paone