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June 13, 2001
CONTACT: Shane Hedges
Governorís Office
(406) 444-5522

Butte-In a major address at the Montana Energy Forum, an upbeat Governor Judy Martz urged Montanans to join state efforts to reduce energy consumption by 10% saying, "There is no greater way for Montanans to be a part of the solution than to conserve energy."

The Governor said she believes that conservation is as critical a component as building new generation facilities to address the energy crisis plaguing the Western United States. She indicated that her administration is developing a statewide initiative to encourage Montanans to reach a 10% conservation goal - a move she says will help Montanans "not only reduce their power bill, [but] improve the environment."

Martz pointed out that Idaho and Wyoming power users are seeing 40% to 300% increases in their power bill, and that she is doing everything she can to make sure Montana customers are better protected than those in neighboring states. Both conservation and construction are important elements, she said.

But Martz also said her administration is facing the "harsh reality that without adequate generation capacity, power rates will rise." The goal she said is to capitalize on Montana's vast resources and the recent changes to the Major Facilities Citing Act to quickly and responsibly build new generation.

The Governor cited a series of exciting possibilities for energy development in Montana, including development of Otter Creek Tracts 1, 2 and 3, coal bed methane, timber and biomass co-generation, transmission and distribution upgrades and wind energy development.

In an encouraging move, Martz said she is working aggressively to entice wind generation to Montana. She said she was pleased to work "with the tribes and Representative Carol Juneau to pass a bill in the legislature to provide incentives for wind generation." The Governor indicated that a number of potential projects are in the planning stages.

Martz said the critics of her energy policy have yet to offer another viable option because those critics believe "we cannot solve this problem. They are wrong!"

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