Montana Creates Its Own Climate Change Initiative, Joins Western Climate Initiative

December 03, 2007

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has announced a new initiative that seeks a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption by state agencies by 2010. He also said that Montana will be joining the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), which is one of many measures recommended in a newly released publication, the Montana Climate Action Report. The report was written by the Montana Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC), which is directed by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Schweitzer said that all agencies would achieve the 20 percent reduction in their own way. "I have confidence that they will get there and I hope folks across the state will join in the effort in their communities as well. This is not only the right thing to do but also has huge cost-saving potential for the taxpayers."

In addition to reducing energy use, the 20 X 10 Initiative sets a Montana corporate average fuel economy standard of 30 miles per gallon or better. State vehicle fleet managers are encouraged to meet the standard by procuring more efficient vehicles and reducing unnecessary idling.

In joining the WCI, Montana will collaborate with Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba to meet regional challenges created by climate change. The group is identifying, evaluating, and implementing methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

Becoming a member of the WCI was one of 54 recommendations made in the Montana Climate Action Report, written by the CCAC. The recommendations address the residential, commercial, institutional and industrial sectors; energy supply, including the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures; transportation and land use; agricultural, forestry, and waste management; and crosscutting issues, such as greenhouse gas reporting and public education and outreach.

In 2005, Schweitzer directed the DEQ, which is the state energy office, to establish the CCAC to evaluate opportunities to reduce state greenhouse gas emissions. DEQ Director Richard Opper appointed 18 Montana citizens to the committee, which was supported by a panel of scientific experts, technical and policy specialists, and DEQ staff members.

For more information, see the governor's November 19 press release and the Montana Climate Action Report.

To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Montana, see: