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News from the Montana Faith & Environment Coalition
March 8, 2019
The MFEC is an interfaith organization bringing together people of faith and scientists from across the state to advocate for faith-led action on climate change.

We are excited to share this inaugural edition of the Montana Faith and Environment Coalition quarterly newsletter, where we will include news, updates, and opportunities around faith-led climate action in Montana as our statewide network continues to grow. Please share this with others who are interested - use the "forward to a friend" link above or at the end of this email, and contact us anytime with comments, ideas, or other opportunities you'd like to share.



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This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
And, leaving,
Left to us.

No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.

No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.

No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.

That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.

~ By Gregory Orr ~

(Untitled poem from How Beautiful the Beloved,
Copper Canyon Press, 2009, p. 88)

Happenings in Helena

The 2019 Legislative session is halfway through, so now is a great opportunity to make your voice heard on some key bills related to climate change and clean energy. We hope you will reach out to committee members and your legislators and share your opinions on these bills. You can do so via this web form or calling the Capitol switchboard (406.444.4800) and asking to leave a voice message with the committee or legislator you want to reach.

Bills to Support

SB 245: Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy. This bill helps commercial property owners afford improvements for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Here's an op-ed in the Billings Gazette that explains it. Contact the Senate Energy Committee

SB 189: The Montana Climate Action Act. This bill would establish a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from electric generation facilities. Economists agree putting a price on carbon is one very effective way of mitigating climate change. Contact the Senate Energy Committee

Bills to Oppose
SB 278 would allow NorthWestern Energy to buy Colstrip and pass on costs to customers. Our major utility ought to be investing in the clean energy of the future, not passing on costs of an uneconomic coal plant to Montanans, especially the most vulnerable who cannot afford higher energy prices. Our friends at MEIC have more details on why this is a really bad bill, and this op-ed is also a good explanation. This bill is on its way to the Senate floor. Contact your Senator today. Additionally, we recommend calling Governor Bullock and asking him to veto this bill: (406) 444-3111

Support Federal Climate Action

We're thrilled to see climate solutions being advocated at the Federal level, and encourage you to learn more about these and add your name to the growing chorus of voices asking our leaders to take urgent action to address climate change. Believe it or not, you can endorse more than one piece of legislation on an issue, so you do not have to believe that any one bill is the 'best ever!' Certainly, when it comes to climate legislation at the Federal level, we know a wide variety of solutions will be needed. 

Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act
There is currently a bipartisan bill introduced into the House of Representatives on carbon pricing - the first bipartisan bill in over a decade. Our legislators really need to hear from Montanans, that they would like to see such meaningful action taken on climate.  You can go to this link,  fill in your zip code, and send a letter to all of our Congressmen: 

 The bill charges a 'pollution fee' on fossil fuels, and the fee is given back to all American people, so it is not actually a tax.   Carbon fees or taxes are in place in dozens of countries around the world and economists say they are a valuable approach to reducing emissions as they work quickly and grow the economy at the same time. Please contact if you wish to discuss it, or visit this site to learn lots more about this promising piece of legislation. Faith leaders including those from Episcopal, Catholic, Presbyterian and Evangelical churches have come out in support of this bill so far.

Support the Green New Deal
The Green New Deal is not an official bill - yet. But the principles and goals enshrined in the Green New Deal resolution open the door for large-scale action to address the climate crisis within the scientific time frame outlined in the most recent IPCC report, while building an inclusive economy that works for all. Learn about how these principles align with faith values and sign on in support of the resolution HERE.

Coalition Updates: Raising our Voices, Moving Forward

Since the Faith, Science and Climate Action Conference last October, members of the Montana Faith and Environment Coalition have been busy working on the priorities identified in the final conference session! Here's what we've been up to:
  • Drs Lori and Rob Byron delivered a letter to MT's entire Congressional delegation (ahead of 2018 election) advocating for action to address climate change immediately; signed by 80 religious leaders across MT (November 2, 2018);
  • Betty Whiting (and two partners) arranged a workshop at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Billings that focused on the greening of church buildings (i.e. solar on rooftops) for 10 different churches: it was attended by 80 people and Eco-Angelas (an NGO begun/run by nuns) has committed to putting solar on their rooftops this year (January 12, 2019);
  • Pastor Eric and Abby Huseth testified at the MT Legislature on Northwestern Energy's 20-year plan for getting energy to power MT, which included no new renewable energy sources but instead relied on fossil fuel sources, e.g. coal (January 18, 2019); See Rev. Huseth and his family read the letter, signed by nearly 100 people of faith from across Montana, in the video linked via the photo below (or click HERE).     
  • Pastor John Lund + 7 others participated in a clean power rally (including Pastor Jean Collins from Lewistown, who spoke) at State Capitol in Helena: news article found here (January 23, 2019);
  • Rev. Jody McDevitt and others authored follow-up letters to the editor post-conference, published in newspapers across the state:
  • The Editorial Board of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle wrote an opinion about the need for alternative/ clean energy to be a part of Montana’s future for Northwestern Energy, alongside our LTE for that day(!):  “Alternative energy must be part of state’s future”.
  • Will Wright awarded a $30,000 grant to fund installation of solar panels on the roof of Resurrection Catholic Church!
  • Drs. Rob and Lori Byron interviewed about climate and advocacy by KGVM Bozeman - The Body Politic (interview will air on March 11, 2019).

Inspiration and Resources


The movement of people of faith & science taking action to protect our climate and the most vulnerable is much bigger than us - and it's gaining steam. Let's share these stories and resources far and wide!

Health and Climate Change in Montana Webinars
Montana State University and the University of Montana hosted two recent, fantastic seminars on Climate and Health specifically in Montana. Recorded webinar links can be found HERE.

Lent & Earth Day Resources
For Christians around the world, the season of Lent has begun. Many churches are offering wonderful Lenten resources for Creation Care and environmental advocacy. Climate Change Communication 
New resources for people of faith on climate change communication and advocacy available through partnership between Blessed Tomorrow and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (right click and save as to download pdfs): Inspiration from Young People and "Cool Congregations"
Young people across the world are leading the way on climate action, from weekly school strikes to the Sunrise Movement. Here's another encouraging article about young evangelicals in the US who are changing the debate. (Article from InsideClimate News)

As we make progress towards building our Montana Interfaith Power and Light chapter, here's some inspiration from the winners of the 2018 IPL "Cool Congregations" challenge.


Upcoming Events & Opportunities


Become a Climate Advocate: Citizens Climate Lobby Training.  March 10, Missoula: 1 to 4 pm, Missoula Public Library, 301 E Main St. This workshop will include skill-building elements, presentations, interactive group and paired discussions, more about CCL’s preferred policy solution, and a time to practice meeting with our member of Congress–all as a step toward having our community and elected officials become champions for climate solutions.

Community Dialogues on 100% Clean Energy: A Livable Missoula for All
Saturday 3/16: 9am–12pm or Monday 3/18. The purpose of these community dialogues is to envision a rapid and equitable path to a livable future for Missoula with 100% clean and affordable energy. Come participate in the conversation with organizations like the Sierra Club, 350 Montana, and Climate Smart Missoula. Pre-registration requested. More details HERE.

Conservation Day of Action at the Montana Legislature. March 22 in Helena. Come together with folks from across the state, get trained to lobby and talk directly with your representatives about climate and  environmental issues. More details HERE

Endorse The Custer Gallatin Forest Plan & Gallatin Forest Partnership. For wildlife struggling to adapt to a rapidly changing climate, the ability to move between healthy national forests in protected travel corridors is absolutely critical. Right now, the Custer Gallatin National Forest is revising its management plan with an eye toward climate adaptation and resilience in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, including the Gallatin Range, which is the largest unroaded mountain range adjacent to Yellowstone without permanent protection. 

A local group of conservationists, hunters, anglers, mountain bikers and other recreationists – the Gallatin Forest Partnership – has proposed a long-term solution to protect the Gallatin Range. The Partnership’s agreement includes a mix of new wilderness and other conservation measures to protect the diversity of habitats and movement corridors so essential to climate adaptation. Now, we need your help! The Forest Service has included the agreement as one option for the new forest plan. You can endorse the Gallatin Forest Partnership Agreement to show your support for this balanced solution for our wild backyard. Just add your endorsement here.  By endorsing the GFP agreement, you’ll join the Partnership’s email list. The GFP will send periodic emails to enlist your help when we have important opportunities to demonstrate the support for this agreement to decision makers. 

Copyright © 2019 Montana Interfaith Power and Light, All rights reserved.

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