For cheaper electricity sign I-187

Guest Commentary
Thursday, June 11, 2020

If you are concerned about the impacts of climate change and this pandemic, you may utilize the new, legally approved, safe way to gather signatures for I-187, the renewable electricity initiative.

I-187 will reduce greenhouse gases, helping to reduce severe weather impacting Montana farming, tourism, fishing, ski, and forests industries. By 2035, I-187 requires investor-owned utilities (like NorthWestern Energy) to supply from renewable resources, 80% of the electricity sold, more if localities want more. It also doubles the current statutory amount of solar capacity that homes and businesses may install and increases that 50kW limit by 5 times for governments, churches, and non-profits.

I-187 uses some of the savings resulting from the transition to zero-fuel cost electricity to replace coal tax and royalty revenue that will gradually dwindle as we reduce coal use. Hence, funding for Montana’s schools, libraries, and other projects will be pre served without an overall tax increase.

From money saved by using cleaner energy, I-187 also dedicates ~$359 million for retraining fossil-fuel workers and assisting coal-dependent communities.

To get I-187 on the ballot, it will take 14,500 more legal signatures from registered voters. It is easy to add your signature safely. Just:

1. Print the signature petition, and accompanying Declaration of Petition Signature Gatherer forms on separate pages from the website at

2. If you cannot print, request forms be mailed to you by filling out the volunteer form at

3. You can read the full initiative text and shorter explanation at the “Initiative 187” tab at

4. After reading, fill out and sign the petition (preferably in blue ink) using the signature you used to register to vote,

5. If you are the signature gatherer, write your county name in the line at the bottom of the petition and place your initials in the lower righthand corner.

6. Anyone needing to, check “voter registration” status may click that link in the “Action” column in the website footer.

7. Witness petition signing by other registered voters in your household who can sign without risk to anyone of contracting COVID-19.

8. After all have signed the petition, complete, sign, and date the “Declaration of Signature Gatherer” form.

9. In a stamped envelope, immediately mail only the original Petition and Declaration forms to your County Election Office (addresses are on pages 4 & 5 of the material you downloaded). Forms must arrive in the Election Office before June 19, 2020.

Law allows younger Montanans who are not yet registered to vote to gather signatures. After printing the forms, they can get parents to sign and submit. Then those kids can safely exercise the right to petition government by phoning or texting other underage, non-voting friends asking voters in other families to sign. Please help address the cli

Please help address the climate crisis while simultaneously lowering electricity generation costs (with battery backup) to below 2 cents/kWh, as is happening in other states.

Lester R. Brown notes: “Saving civilization is not a spectator sport.”

Thank you for being more than spectators.

Russ Doty & Tom Towe are consumer attorneys, former legislators, and co-authors of I-187.



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