[MCN] Don't Just Click a Button. Show Up!

Jeffrey J. Smith yswolfhowl at gmail.com
Thu Sep 29 12:07:56 EDT 2016

For Release *Wednesday, September 28 2016*

*Contact: *Ari LeVaux (406) 546-5242  lavo at montana.com

*350 Montana Announces a rally in Butte:*

*Renewables Now:*

*A message to NorthWestern Energy*

*Butte, Montana*. The climate activist group 350 Montana announces a
festive rally on October 10 in Butte. The goal is to pressure NorthWestern
Energy to pivot immediately toward renewable energy sources, and to embrace
solar, wind, and other forms of renewable energy.

*We see the results of doing nothing about climate change for the last 25
years in our dying rivers, extreme forest fire seasons, and advancing
threats to our two largest industries, agriculture and tourism. Montanans
just can’t afford NorthWestern Energy’s business-as-usual for the next 25
years. — Jeff Smith, 350 Montana*


The writing is on the wall for coal, thanks to a combination of public
sentiment, political pressure and market forces. Two of the Colstrip power
generators are currently scheduled for decommissioning, and NorthWestern
Energy is already making plans for how it will replace the electricity
Colstrip supplies.

The company has recently proposed spending $1.3 billion on 13 new natural
gas generators. Once built, the Montana Public Service Commission will let
the company run its generators until the initial investment plus a
“reasonable” profit is recovered. But this profit comes at an unreasonable
expense to the citizens of Montana. Our top industries, not to mention our
way of life, need cold water and deep snowpacks, both of which are rapidly

NorthWestern Energy seems OK with letting Montanans bear these costs, while
its shareholders reap the short-term profits. Meanwhile, the company has
made it increasingly difficult for small scale solar and wind projects to
be economically viable, including its current attempts to cut in half the
rate it pays for residential solar that is sold back to the grid.

At the same time, a recent poll taken by the Montana Voters Conservation
Fund has found that 74 percent of Montanans favor replacing the coal
generators with renewable energy. (

We don’t have time to waste on natural gas, despite it being touted as a
“bridge fuel” between coal and clean energy. While natural gas burns more
cleanly than coal, the amount of methane released during natural gas mining
(aka fracking) makes it just as bad or worse for the climate than coal.
Meanwhile, the cost of clean energy sources like wind and solar have come
down so much that they are cost-competitive with fossil fuels, all while
emitting zero greenhouse gasses. Montana has both solar and wind in
abundance, but Montana’s power company is actively blocking public and
private attempts to take advantage of it. A company lobbyist once referred
to solar energy as a “cancer.”

NorthWestern Energy has been great to its shareholders, returning 300
percent—as much as Google and Amazon—over the last seven years. Now it’s
time for NorthWestern Energy to do right by its customers, the citizens of
Montana. Stop wasting our money on polluting generators. Pivot toward
renewables, and give private citizens and cooperatives a feasible path to
setting up their own solar capacity.

The rally will begin at 11 AM on October 10 in Butte’s Emma Park, at South
Dakota and West Porphyry streets, with music by Jack Gladstone and Andrea
Harsell. The rally will move to the corner of W Park and Main streets, in
front of NorthWestern Energy year-old corporate headquarters.  Battery-powered
speakers will be set up on each of the four corners, broadcasting the words
of several experts speaking on topics like the real impact of natural gas
on climate, and what a post fossil fuel energy economy could do for

*Speakers include*

*Dan Brandborg, *general manager of SBS Solar, a Hamilton, MT based solar
energy company. Dan will talk about the overt and hidden constraints on
residential solar and its potential should we lift these constraints.

*Brian Fadie of the Montana Environmental Information Center* Brian will
highlight new Montana polling numbers showing overwhelming support in the
state for increasing use of wind, solar, and energy efficiency.

*David Merrill of the Sierra Club* David will highlight the long history of
inaction in addressing the climate threat and the rapidly intensifying
crisis that is the fruit of that recklessness, in Montana and around the

*Music provided* by Jack Gladstone, aka “Montana’s Troubador,” and Peace,
Love & Andrea Harsell.

*Transportation assistance will be available, including busses and vans
from Missoula, Bozeman and Billings. Transportation grants are also
available. *

For more info: www.350montana.org/event/northwestern-energy-rally/

*100-word Calendar Blurb*

The climate activist group 350 Montana announces a festive rally on October
10 in Butte’s Emma Park, from 11 am -1 pm The goal is to send a message to
NorthWestern Energy that it must pivot immediately toward renewable energy
sources, and embrace solar, wind, and other forms of fossil fuel-free
energy. Music provided by Jack Gladstone, “Montana’s Troubador,” and Peace,
Love & Andrea Harsell. Speakers will address the need for clean fuels, and
what they will do for Montana.  Free transportation provided from Missoula
and Bozeman; transport grants available.

For more info: www.350montana.org/event/northwestern-energy-rally/
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