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MT Businesses: Measures in Congress Crucial for Climate Action

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021   

HELENA, Mont. - Nearly three dozen Montana businesses are thanking U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., for his work on the infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden last month. They're also urging Tester and other senators to pass the Build Back Better Act, which passed the House last week.

In a letter to the senator, the businesses say the bill takes a critical step on climate action.

Robert Keith signed the letter as co-founder of Beartooth Group, which invests in and advises conservation-minded Montana ranches. He said he thinks a transition to a clean economy is necessary for Montanans to maintain their livelihoods.

"That really is what's at stake, whether you're a fly-fishing outfitter or an agricultural producer or everything in between," he said. "We need to be addressing climate change at a large scale."

Keith said droughts and wildfires have hit Montanans hard in recent years. Just this week, the annual West Yellowstone Ski Festival was canceled because of lack of snow.

Opponents of the Build Back Better Act say it's too costly and that its scope is too wide.

In their letter to Tester, the signers underscored the important role outdoor recreation plays in Montana. It makes up more than 5% of the state's gross domestic product, the second largest share of a state's economy in the country.

Steven Ladefoged, who owns Montago Coffee in Helena, signed the letter. He said these bills would help protect the state from the effects of climate change, which in turn protects the state's recreation economy.

"If we can make a lot of money from it and we can continue to grow in a sustainable way, it just benefits everyone," he said, "especially those future generations who will rely on cleaner energy, so that the impacts of climate and severe storms aren't as bad as they could be."

The Build Back Better Act is a spending package totaling about $2 trillion over 10 years, including $555 billion for climate-related and clean-energy investments. It now awaits a vote in the Senate, where certain provisions will be hotly debated.


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