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Action on climate will create Montana jobs

by Monica Tranel
| December 19, 2021 12:00 AM

Around Montana, the impact of climate change is hitting hard: Extreme drought continued through the late fall and December brought record highs. Firefighters are moving from one catastrophe to the next, working longer hours, and longer seasons, than ever. Action is required, and Montana is in a unique position to act.

At the COP26, the global climate summit that wrapped up in Glasgow last month, the attending countries agreed that the climate crisis will never be averted without international agreements and concerted action. The challenge now is for every nation, including the United States, to carry out our commitments to address climate change. I am running for Congress because honoring those commitments is essential to securing a sustainable future, and can bring good paying jobs to Montana, strengthening our communities.

My law practice has taken me across Montana where I’ve worked on water rights, wind generation, and helped new and upcoming Montana renewable energy producers. I understand how our energy laws and policies actually work out on the ground.

In the new infrastructure bill, Congress invested in the new energy economy: by funding construction of the charging stations we need before we can have a fleet of electric cars; by investing in our land and communities and allocating funds to protect against drought and heat; and significantly, funding upgrades to our electric grid, that takes on new urgency in light of the recent fire in Denton.

These laws passed because they make sense, and the Democratic majority in the House and Senate was joined by enough common sense Republicans to stand in support of our future. Scaling up the production of renewable energy brings exciting opportunities for our communities and our workforce. Projects like the wind farms I helped Marty Wilde bring to Montana deliver needed revenue to our rural counties, schools, and first responders.

And that’s where Montana will enjoy real advantages. Montana has winter peaking wind, which complements the wind production in Washington state. Montana has a long history of exporting our natural resources. Sending our wind and solar power out of state, to our economic benefit, is a no brainer.

When Congress creates the policies to realize our promises in Glasgow, I bring direct experience of what can work for Montana. We can create an energy future that protects the planet, keeps energy producing communities whole, and provides opportunity for Montanans.

Climate change is here, and we can’t turn it around on a dime. We already see its effects in Montana, with fields drying out in droughts, rivers reduced to a trickle, and forest fires burning more intensely. These damages are not immediately reversible, and Congress must act now, and act boldly. The Build Back Better Bill that recently passed the House includes $550 billion to combat climate change, the single largest investment in U.S. history to the clean energy economy. Montana needs our voice in Congress to ensure that we are able to connect those allocated dollars with real projects on the ground that will actually reduce carbon emissions. Montana can continue to be the engine room of the country, and supply the clean, renewable energy that is going to power our future.

In Glasgow, delegates made promises to stop carbon emissions and radically restructure our energy system. It’s time to make those promises reality. Our children’s and grandchildren’s well-being depends on it. Join me in bringing common sense solutions to Montana and sending a Montana voice to Congress.

Monica Tranel is a Democrat running for Montana’s second U.S. House seat. She lives in Missoula with her husband and three daughters.

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