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The Montana Climate Solution Plan, mentioned in a recent news article, is really a comprehensive document. The information presented rightly deserves serious discussion, so it is a real pity that critics are able to devolve any discussion into accusations that a carbon tax is being put into place. Per my reading, the section on carbon pricing simply recommends that Montana be part of any discussions initiated by regional or federal entities, which makes perfect sense.

The critics need to understand that you cannot sell a product that no one wants (Coalstrip Units 1 & 2 shutdown) or that is no longer financially viable (coal mining furloughs, bankruptcies). Although this plan delves into several aspects of "going green," even climate change deniers should be able to get excited about the innovation and advanced manufacturing recommendations in the plan. There are a lot of jobs in the regional technology and manufacturing centers envisioned in the plan, including electricians, researchers, composite materials technicians, chemical plant operators, all commensurate with mining industry pay.

This might seem farfetched to some, but given the right incentives, along with university partnerships, technology centers can attract industry. There are some good examples in this country, such as Research Triangle Park in North Carolina.

I urge everyone to read the Montana Climate Solutions Plan, and see for yourself the possibilities for the future.

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Tom Kwarciak