Jon TesterJon TesterThe junior senator from Montana, Jon Tester has stayed relatively quiet on climate legislation and thus remains in the “fence-sitter” category.

In late October, Tester expressed interest in Sen. Maria Cantwell’s (D-Wash.) climate bill, which thus far hasn’t gotten any traction in the Senate: “I’d like to see what Maria’s got. I’m not real happy with [Kerry-Boxer]. I don’t want something real, real complicated.”

But Tester does believe action on climate change is necessary, as he told the Montana Audubon Society in June: “I think climate change is real, and we need to do something about it. We also have to do it right, and that starts with promoting clean, green renewable energy. Montana is the mother lode for renewable energy. Wind. Solar. Geothermal. Bioenergy from crops that don’t compete with food. We’ve got it all.”

As president of the Montana Senate, Tester sponsored a successful bill that established a renewable energy standard for the state. During his campaign for Senate in 2006, he promised to “fight to end America’s addiction to foreign oil, by investing in bio-fuel technology and wind power development, creating a national renewable standard and promoting energy efficiency and conservation.” More recently, in an interview with, Tester expressed his support for clean-coal technologies as well as renewable energy. “[Coal] ain’t going away,” Tester argued. “So let’s figure out a way to burn it better.”

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Tester sent the following letter to a climate skeptic in March, arguing that climate change is a serious problem and affirming his intent “to be a part of the solution”:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your skepticism regarding global warming. I appreciate your perspective on this important issue facing our nation, but respectfully disagree with your conclusion.

Climate change is causing devastating effects on our environment. In Montana, we are witnessing the disappearance of the glaciers in Glacier National Park, a lengthy drought, and wildly shifting weather patterns.

In north central Montana, we haven’t had a “Montana” winter in nearly 30 years. Worldwide, the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and snow storms threatens our safety and burdens global economics as we witness irregular precipitation patterns.

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Because of my concern for our safety, economic well-being, and environment, I am committed to reversing the effects of climate change.

Congress will consider several important pieces of legislation this year on global warming, and I intend to be a part of the solution to global climate change. Promoting conservation efforts, reducing emissions from industrial sources and developing renewable fuels are just a few of our options, and I will look closely at all of them.

Your input is an incredibly important part of the process. I hope that you will contact me again in the future if you have any further questions or concerns.

Jon Tester
United States Senator, Montana

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