The Billings Outpost

Renewable energy pays

Last month Montana lawmakers continued working on an important study about the future of renewable energy in Montana. The Legislature’s Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee (ETIC) has spent the last year analyzing the impact that our renewable energy standard has had on Montana’s economy, electricity bills, and environment. As long as they play by the rules, they will discover what we already know to be true – renewable energy has been a good deal for Montana ratepayers.

Montana enacted a renewable energy standard in 2005, requiring public utilities to add new renewable energy sources into their electricity portfolio. Today, the utilities are on track to meet those benchmarks while acquiring energy that is actually cheaper than traditional fossil fuel sources. 

The renewable energy standard is good policy because it reduces risk to ratepayers and lowers our electricity costs. In fact, new wind energy sources are one of the best deals for utilities. According to the Public Service Commission, wind energy from Judith Gap was significantly cheaper than sources from coal and even hydroelectric dams from 2009-11.

To the legislators studying the standard – help protect us from increasing electricity prices by developing more of Montana’s renewable resources, such as wind and solar. We all know that renewable energy has proven to be a good deal for Montana by diversifying our energy supply, creating new jobs across the state, cleaning up our air, and boosting our tax base. Let’s do more in the coming years.

Ed Gulick

Billings

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:57

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Wittich flees race

Sometimes, to defend poor choices, a man’s bravado has his mouth writing checks his butt can’t cash. This appears to have been the scenario facing Sen. Art Wittich in the final hours of filing for legislative office.

First, a history lesson: Wittich and his associates, while safely nestled in the warm embrace of Dark Money, have made it their mission to inform Republicans that primaries are good for the party. They justified this claim by stating that primaries have a uniquely “purifying” power that forces candidates to “own their vote.”

It seems an opponent was listening. On the final day of election signups, Wittich had the opportunity to put his hollow maxim to the test - to finally live by the words he preached. A primary loomed.

Nervous and caught unaware, Wittich began to ponder …

Maybe his singular dubious accolade, a stellar rating on Roger Koopman’s cherry-picked scorecard (TAB), didn’t have the star power envisioned?

Maybe the verdict on his failed leadership would haunt him? Would anybody actually believe the fable that his failure to lead was somebody else’s fault?

Maybe he feared that the voters would uncover his efforts to dismantle public education? Or his reference to volunteer school trustees as members of a “commie” club?

Or maybe, just maybe, it was the zero he received on the Montana University System scorecard? Bozeman is a university town and his constituents might find it unsettling that Sen. Wittich’s only support for the university was empty lip service.

By closing time, Senate Majority Leader Wittich had decided that an open discussion of his record, his leadership failure, and his looming legal troubles was a sure recipe for defeat. He disowned his principles and fled the primary to an uncontested House race. Can anyone say - hypocrite?

Rep. Jesse O’Hara

Great Falls

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:56

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Protect public lands

I recently read about Matt Rosendale’s plan to transfer federal lands to state control. This is a hugely problematic proposal. As a member of the Public Land/Water Access Association, I get concerned when people start fiddling around with public lands.

But there are other concerns here besides the prospect of losing public lands and that is the huge expense of maintaining federal land such road maintenance, fighting wildfires, and many other expenses that are now funded by the federal government. I expect there would be a tax hike here in Montana to care take these roughly 27 million acres. Many Montanans, including some of Rosendale’s challengers, have spoken out against Rosendale’s plan. We have to be very smart and cautious about any proposal that may end up with Montanans losing any of our public lands.  I hope voters will recognize a bad idea when they see one.

Colleen Jensen

Molt

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:54

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Treat everyone the same

You asked for help [Editor’s Notebook, April 17], well, here it is.  Concerning the sign “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone,” in the six states that I have lived in (California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Montana), this sign has always referred to people who were causing problems (drunk, disorderly, profane or generally causing a disturbance).

This is the first time in my 54 years on this planet that I’ve ever seen it applied to race, creed, color or sexual orientation. This new view here in Billings is quite disturbing. The view that I have stated has always been the accepted usage to anyone I’ve ever known, until now.

So here’s the help you asked for: If you want to work, own a business, or in any other way work with or for the public, everyone should be treated the same, or find a job that keeps you from the public. Otherwise it is just another form of oppression, bigotry and segregation.

Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago it was done due to your color, race, religion and social status. I don’t see any difference. Do you?

Robert Jackson

Billings

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:53

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Thanks for photo

Thank you for the photo and cutline about our Knights of Columbus annual Tootsie Roll Drive [Outpost, April 10].

We Knights appreciate it.

Harold Kelso

St. Pius X Council 9976

Billings

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:52

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Help fight Alzheimer’s

On April 9, more than 800 people living with Alzheimer’s, caregivers and advocates from across the country, gathered in Washington D.C. for the 26th annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum. Representing millions of people, they engaged in the democratic process and appealed directly to members of Congress for action on Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and 15.5 million Alzheimer’s caregivers. As an Alzheimer’s advocate, it is my honor to play a role in addressing this rapidly growing health crisis.

I lost my beautiful mother to Alzheimer’s over the course of 10 years. My dear father-in-law suffers now. I’ve seen the toll this heartbreaking disease takes on Alzheimer’s sufferers and the people who are trying to care for them while often letting their own health concerns go unaddressed.

In addition to the human toll, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive condition in nation, costing a staggering $214 billion a year.

Did you know that nearly one in every five dollars spent by Medicare is on people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia?

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death among the top 10 without a way to prevent, stop or even slow its progression. If we could eliminate Alzheimer’s we could save half a million lives every year.

It is only through adequate funding and a strong implementation of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease that we will meet its goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025.

Please call our Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh and our Congressman Steve Daines.  Ask them to make Alzheimer’s disease a national priority.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects us all. To learn how you can get involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s, visit alz.org. 

Joanie Tooley

Billings

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 16:19

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