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Montana's Energy Future (Part One): Differing Perspectives on the Energy Economy of the Rocky Mountain West

In the first episode of our three-part series on Montana's energy economy we speak with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Schweitzer spent a number of years developing agricultural systems in Libya and Saudi Arabia, which strongly shaped one of his ongoing policy priorities: securing American energy independence. And with huge coal and oil reserves, as well as wind potential, he explains how Montana fits snugly into this plan.

Download: Montana's Energy Future (Part One): Differing Perspectives on the Energy Economy of the Rocky Mountain West

An Interview with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer

Montana Governor Brian SchweitzerThe future of global energy production is shaping up to be one of the most important and complicated issues of our time. From limited traditional fuel sources like oil and coal to newer, cleaner energy like wind, solar and bio-mass, nothing is off the table when it comes to meeting the growing global demand for energy. And while the energy market is increasingly global, the debate over the sustainability of our energy use is rooted in regional geographies, statewide politics and local communities – those affected by discreet projects and those that will be most affected by climate impacts. To shed some light on just how complex and nuanced these energy issues are, we focus on the state of Montana – which shares the largest coal deposits in the U.S. (along with Wyoming), ranks fifth among states for potential wind energy production and is home to one of the largest domestic oil shale deposits.

In this three part series, we talk with the Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, former US Forest Service Supervisor and environmental activist Gloria Flora and Western Representative for the American Wind Energy Association Tom Darin, about the future of low carbon and high carbon energy developments in Montana.

For the first episode, we talk with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Now in his second term as Governor, Schweitzer, is keen to kick America’s dependency on foreign countries for our fuel supplies. His keynote speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention highlighted the risks and costs to the American public of relying on foreign countries lead predominantly by dictators to meet U.S. energy demands. According to Schweitzer, Montana’s resources offer a homegrown solution out of this geopolitical trap.

[Music: Phillip Aaberg, "Keep Walkin" from Blue West (Sweet Grass, 2005); Neil Young, "Vampire Blues" from On the Beach (Reprise, 1974)]

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