Renewable energy initiative supporters can gather signatures

Associated Press

 Supporters can start gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would require utilities to supply more renewable energy in Montana.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Supporters can start gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would require utilities to supply more renewable energy in Montana.

The Initiative 180 language was certified for signature-gathering on Wednesday. The measure would require investor-owned utilities to gradually increase the percentage of renewable energy they sell. The goals would be 19 percent by 2018, 40 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050.

It also calls for taxing electrical production to make up for lost Coal Tax Trust Fund deposits and would create a temporary tax to fund pensions and allow displaced fossil fuel workers to train for new work.

Supporters need to gather the signatures of at least 5 percent of the registered voters in each of 34 state House districts and a total of just over 24,000 signatures by June 17 to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.

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