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From the lovely prairies of the Great Plains to the sweeping heights of the Northern Rockies, Montana’s landscapes make for an incredible place to raise kids. As a Big Sky mom who puts a high premium on a clean environment and a healthy job outlook for my children, I commend Gov. Steve Bullock for the forward-looking and ambitious energy blueprint he's devised for our beautiful state.

Besides pledging to reduce overall electricity usage by 10 percent by 2025 through both small- and large-scale projects to improve energy efficiency, Bullock’s plan would bring much-needed support and vision to Montana’s renewables industries, helping to fulfill the great potential of our state’s fertile wind and solar resources. Wind energy has already brought more than 100 permanent jobs (and some 1,500 construction positions) to the state, along with $1.5 billion in investments. And besides answering the energy needs of Montanans, Big Sky-generated electricity finds a large and hungry market for clean energy on the West Coast—a market that's projected to grow significantly as states such as Oregon and California strive in the next few decades to meet half their energy needs through renewables.

As the news of the retirement of Units 1 and 2 at the Colstrip coal-fired power plant demonstrate, the fossil-fuel economy is a precarious one, particularly in the face of climate change. We must protect our economy against the volatility of the coal market by greatly expanding renewable energy, as Bullock’s plan aims to do, will better protect the environment while ensuring more high-paying jobs for future generations—my children and their children included.

Living in a place where the water’s clean to drink, the air’s clean to breathe, and protected wildlands and other recreational havens lie near at hand—these are qualities that, as a Montana mother, I consider invaluable. The same goes for anticipating a future state economy that’s healthy, sustainable and rich in opportunity. These priorities mean I proudly join Montana Mountain Mamas and Mom’s Clean Air Force in supporting Bullock’s energy plan for Montana.

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Hannah Fisher,

Helena

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