Montana Climate Action This Month

350 Montana has a lively schedule for the next few weeks. It’s getting on to spring, and things are happening.

Monday, March 19350 Montana’s action committee meets at the Missoula Public Library from 5:30 to 7 p.m.Agenda items include:

1. renting a 15-person van to support Leonard Higgins at his valve-turner sentencing hearing in Fort Benton on March 20,

2. sponsoring  “The Age of Consequences” with the Sierra Club and Jeannette Rankin Peace Center at the Crystal,

3. sponsoring “Saving Snow: The Future of Our Winter” at the Crystal on April 5 with Citizens Climate Lobby,

4. a field trip to Butte on April 18 to stop NorthWestern Energy’s resource plan to build 13 new fossil fuel generators in Montana, and

5. sending the paper, “Natural Gas, The End Is Near” to the Montana Public Service Commission.

Tuesday, March 20, we’ll leave very early from Missoula to be present in the Fort Benton Courthouse at 9 a.m. when the judge will sentence Leonard Higgins for turning off the Spectrum Energy tar sands oil pipeline in 2016. A jury convicted Leonard of criminal mischief and misdemeanor trespass on November 22. Leonard was not allowed to talk about climate change. He faces a sentence that may include probation or a jail sentence of up to 10 years and fines of up to $20,000.

350 Montana is planning a potluck reception at the Community Baptist Church, 1600 Main Street in Fort Benton, after the hearing concludes. We’ll head back to Missoula later that afternoon. There are still a few seats left in our van if you’re interested in joining us. Send an email to yswolfhowl@gmail.com.

“The Age of Consequences” movie is tentatively scheduled at the Roxy on March 26, while “Saving Snow” is scheduled April 2 at 7 p.m.

We don’t yet know the agenda for NorthWestern Energy’s procurement plan public meeting on April 18, 9 a.m. to noon, at the company’s auditorium at 11 East Park Street in Butte. Expect a spirited discussion of how NWE will fill the gap in electrical generation once the four coal-fired Colstrip plants shut down between now and 2030.

This is where climate change and Montana politics intersect, and it might be a good meeting to attend. The Public Service Commission and the Montana Legislature have instructed the company to be careful about the way they price renewable energy, especially when it comes to net-metering rooftop solar. The discussion will presumable be led by an energy technical advisory committee made up of economists and knowledgeable renewable energy business-folks. But 350 Montana has some testimony in store.

That’s it for now. Thanks for staying in touch.

Jeff Smith, co-chair, 350 Montana