In his own words: “My children are growing up in a different environment than I did. In 2017, Montana had our most expensive fire season in history with over 6 weeks of periodic evacuations, smoke-laden skies and double the incidence of respiratory illness-related ER visits, and the tragic loss of two wildland firefighters. In recent summers we have often closed or restricted our rivers to fishing to give fish a respite while enduring warmer rivers. Glacier National Park is losing its glaciers. Montana farmers and ranchers are coping with drought, pests and disease and variability impacting their livelihoods. Quite simply, my home is visibly changing.
As a father of three children, I know we have to do better for our country, our world and our future.Learn More »
As Governor, I have done more than tweet or give speeches about climate change. I have implemented broad based policy solutions that are making a real difference:
- I have led efforts to expand clean energy solutions, quadrupling the state’s installed solar capacity and doubling wind generation during my tenure as governor.
- I criticized the decision to withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, calling the decision “shortsighted and dangerous” and have set Montana on a path to meeting the goals of Paris.
- I vetoed Republican efforts in the state legislature to gut renewable energy standards and put up roadblocks to development of solar and wind energy.
- Through a first-of-its kind partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration and regional partners, I created the Montana Renewables Development Action Plan to identify opportunities and overcome barriers to wind energy development in the state and access to markets through the Northwest. The plan identifies that almost 360 MW of transmission capacity is available to move power from Montana to the Northwest, and the state is able to dynamically transfer 1000 MW of variable energy resources to the West Coast.
- I fostered national leadership on renewable energy and lowering greenhouse gas emissions through co-chairing the Governors Wind and Solar Energy Coalition and the Governor’s Carbon Capture Coalition, helping that technology to realize its potential as a national energy, economic, and environmental strategy.
- To foster a new generation of environmental stewards, I launched a SMART Schools Challenge –a competition to help Montana’s K-12 public schools save money and resources by conserving energy, recycling waste, and implementing green practices that benefit student health and the environment. The students’ rigor and deep commitment to the environment inspire me and give me hope. In addition to work curbing climate change, I have taken steps to address its impacts and build climate resilience:
- In response to widespread, persistent drought across the northern Great Plains, I established the Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee to serve as a clearinghouse for information on water supply conditions and drought mitigation actions for local, state and federal partners. The Committee provides monthly water supply assessments, reports on local impacts, identifies mitigation strategies, and directs financial and technical assistance to address urgent drought management efforts and prepare for long-term resilience needs.
- In 2014, I launched the Forests in Focus Initiative to invest in collaborative efforts to reduce wildfire risk, protect critical watersheds, and improve wildlife habitat.
- Through my chairmanship at the Western Governors Association, I led a National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative developing a series of bipartisan administrative and legislative reforms to improve cooperation between federal agencies and states and accelerate collaborative conservation efforts across the West. Through the Governor’s outreach to Members of Congress, many of the Initiative’s recommendations have since been enacted by Congress, including a long sought-after reform of the way the federal government budgets for wildfires-allowing for wildfire to be funded like other natural disasters (enabling the Forest Service to budget for habitat restoration and forest management rather than fire fighting).
As a governor and a father, I know that to address the real issues associated with climate change, you must take real and meaningful action. I have done so as governor, and I will bring that same focus on actionable solutions to the White House.”
(Source: candidate survey)