Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Montana voters urged Congress to support commonsense climate policies – and they did!

| July 3, 2024 1:00 AM

What do a retired businessman, Miss Montana Teen USA, Miss Montana USA, a forester, a fifth-generation Native-American Salish woman, and an MSU sophomore all have in common?

We live in Montana, vote and volunteer with the nonpartisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). We’re focused on solving climate change and moving Congress to pass big solutions to ensure a healthy climate and enable the rapid transition to clean energy.

And we all just returned from lobbying Senators Daines and Tester and Representatives Zinke and Rosendale in D.C. as part of CCL’s June Conference & Lobby Day.

Our nine-person team ranged in age from 18 to 70+. We loved lobbying with four committed young people on our team who participated with talent and deep caring, strongly contributing to our overall success.

At our conference, we learned about several climate bills and how we can listen and gain support from Members of Congress (MOCs) on both sides of the aisle. Then we joined 1000 other volunteers from all 50 states to attend 442 meetings with our MOCs, meeting with 97% of the Senate offices.

We followed up on bills we lobbied for in March as part of our Conservative Lobby Day, such as the PROVE IT Act. This bill would require the Department of Energy to study and compare the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of products that are produced here and abroad. Proving that our products are cleaner will improve our trading position. We’re proud of the Montana Chamber of Commerce for supporting this bill.

We also discussed the critical need for a comprehensive clean-energy permitting reform bill. We need to speed up the process of building the clean‑energy infrastructure so that America can lower our greenhouse gas emissions and ensure every household has access to affordable and reliable clean energy.

New transmission line permits take 7-10+ years to complete and another 3-7 years to construct. We have new wind and solar projects planned, but they can’t be implemented until transmission lines are upgraded or built.

We also urged the expedited permitting of enhanced geothermal systems that can be used to create steam to run turbines. This, along with utility-scale battery storage, can be a source of firm, affordable electricity to balance cheap wind and solar.

Our efforts have brought big results over time! Six bills we’ve lobbied for in past sessions are now laws. Recently, two House Members co-sponsored the Seedlings for Sustainable Habitat Restoration Act; four co-sponsored the Increased TSP (Technical Service Provider) Access Act, including Representative Zinke in April!

We thank Senators Daines and Tester for their votes in favor of the bipartisan Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act, one of our March Asks. This bill represents one of the most significant actions Congress has taken to advance clean energy. And we appreciate Senator Daines for his bipartisan bill, the Community Hydropower Improvement Act, to streamline the permitting process, increase tribal engagement and oversight, promote healthy habitat, and coordinate federal decision-making.

We enjoyed our conversations with our MOCs and their staff and have a deep appreciation for the hard work that takes place on Capitol Hill.

We welcome anyone who is serious about solving climate change, no matter your political stripes, because we believe that everyone is a potential ally and that we all need to work together.

Some people think the climate problem is unsolvable. We have climate solutions. We know we’re making a difference. Together, we’re building support for national bipartisan solutions to climate change, working with our MOCs to preserve the beautiful Montana we all love. See 

Kristen Walser, Robin Paone, and Dave Atkins co-lead Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapters in Montana. CCL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots advocacy climate change organization that empowers everyday people to work with their community and their members of Congress. Our supporters cover the political spectrum and work in more than 450 local chapters.