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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

DEQ drafts plan for climate change grants

The federal government has over $4 billion to give states, tribes and cities, to fight climate change. All they have to do is come up with a plan for how to spend the money.

Montana’s plan is available for public comment, but is incomplete.

The state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is writing Montana’s plan and outlined 10 priorities in its draft, like energy efficient upgrades for schools and homes and investments in zero emission vehicles.

At a recent public listening session, Montana State University Soil Science Professor Tony Hartshorn questioned if the DEQ’s current list of priorities actually address the largest greenhouse gas emitters. He pointed to a measure about cutting energy consumption in commercial buildings.

“If we were to zero out all of their energy consumption, fossil energy consumption. Like, it ends up being a really, really small and, I would argue, strangely insignificant greenhouse gas reduction,” Hartshorn said.

According to the DEQ, the two largest greenhouse gas emitters in Montana are the agricultural and electric power industries. There is nothing in the draft plan targeting agricultural emissions.

Also not included in the plan are estimations on how proposed priority measures could reduce emissions. Those estimates are required by the federal government.

The agency said this information will be included in the grant applications they’ll later submit to the Environmental Protection Agency, but won’t be available for public comment before the window closes February 15.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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