I find it amazing that unannounced gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte founded a billion dollar tech company. His grasp of the facts and critical thinking leave a lot to be desired. There’s a guest column in today’s Missoulian that tears at the heart strings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t reflect reality. Here’s one of the things he says about the EPA’s Carbon Power Plan and its impact on Colstrip, and the rest of Montana:
The impacts will be devastating across Montana. Double-digit electric rate hikes. Thousands of jobs lost. I wouldn’t be surprised if the state of Montana would end up seeing more than $1 billion in lost economic activity.
You’ve have to wonder where he got those statistics since the proposed EPA rules are only in draft form. Maybe Gianforte looked the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research report, commissioned by Northwestern Energy, which has been highly criticized.
It should also be noted that Colstrip Units 1 & 2 could be on the chopping block anyway. From former UM Department of Economics Chairman Thomas Power:
The additional point that’s very important is that Colstrip 1 and 2 have been — if not scheduled, heavily discussed as closing because they’re the oldest and the dirtiest and least efficient of the generators. Not because of the Clean Power Plan, but because the states of Washington, Oregon and California don’t want their utilities investing in maintaining, and operating dirty plants.
But using questionable statistics, Gianforte takes the opportunity to skewer President Obama, Governor Bullock and the EPA, and to invoke images of teary-eyed Colstrip women.
Instead of that tripe, Gianforte should be advancing what he’d to to mitigate job losses due to the dwindling coal market. You’d think a tech millionaire might look forward instead of backward: a natural gas plant in Colstrip, job retraining in alternative energy fields, maybe even an Oracle campus in Rosebud County (Oracle purchased Gianforte’s RightNow Technologies in 2011 for $1.5 billion and has a large campus in Bozeman).
Does Gianforte accept what 97 percent of the scientific community says about human-caused global warming? He makes no mention of climate change in his opinion piece. We know he has some issues with evolution and he likes the biblical 600-year-old Noah’s work ethic. That’s scary stuff to contemplate in a potential governor.