Small Business Owners Host Roundtable with Sen. Tester on Clean Energy and Air

On April 20, the Montana Small Business Alliance hosted a business roundtable on clean energy and clean air issues with U.S. Senator Jon Tester. Small business owners from Billings and Eastern Montana communities got face to face and shared their perspectives on clean air and energy issues with Senator Tester, who serves on both the Energy & Water Development and Interior, Environment, & Related Agencies subcommittees of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The business owners who joined the roundtable represented a true cross-section of Montana. They included a farmer/rancher, an architect, a restaurant owner, and a carpenter. Though they come from many different sectors, these business leaders were united by their interest in protecting Montana’s quality of life to support healthy communities and vibrant local economies.
Montana has seen many battles waged on the premise that economic growth can only come at the expense of the state’s natural beauty and environment. The business owners at the MSBA roundtable turned this premise on its head, making a compelling case that long-term economic growth goes hand in hand with preserving the state’s natural splendor.
Senator Tester and the roundtable participants discussed the potential for an expansion of jobs related to clean air, clean water and energy efficiency. The business leaders cited examples of maximizing energy efficiency at their businesses as a money-saving mechanism. The conversation also touched on the health care costs related to pollution.
"Nationally, we are spending tens of billions of dollars on health care related costs of using carbon based fuels," said Ben Reed, owner of Winpower West. "We want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the fruits of our labor, not have to pay the costs for them."
“Hearing from small business owners who are strengthening Montana’s economy and creating jobs is one of the most important things I do," Tester said. "Today’s roundtable was full of good ideas about working together to move our economy forward while making responsible decisions about Montana’s land, air and water.”