Montana Ethic Project: Wind energy, business and politics


Joey and Libbie Early

Peggy Beltrone, president of Exergy Integrated Systems.

This is the 13th chapter of the 32-part video series “The Montana Ethic Project.” This chapter features Peggy Beltrone, president of Exergy Integrated Systems in Great Falls, speaking on “Montana Wind Energy—Business and Politics.”

You can watch the whole video below. Here is how it begins:

“One of my pet sayings is that, ‘If you know one community, you know one community. If you know one tribal nation, you know one tribal nation. If you know one thing, you know one thing. You don’t know everything.’

“That being said I’m going to share a few of those things—lessons I have learned over my years in Montana.

“I spent 30 years in Montana working in television news, in my own business, in non-profits, in elected office, and now I’m back to working in private enterprise. When I was in college I had decided I wanted to be a television reporter. I had an interest in politics, in speech and debate, and in reporting. Frankly I couldn’t spell. This was before spell checkers. There was just no way I was going to be a print journalist and have to carry around a dictionary. I was just a bad speller. So TV was my home.”

Here is another, edited excerpt from Beltrone’s presentation:

“When we were working on the Montana Alberta Tie-Line we had public hearings. We had the Chambers of Commerce from communities all along where the transmission line would be located. We brought out teachers and businessmen and community leaders and had hearings. They all talked about how much of a great project this would be, how much revenue it would bring.

“We did not realize, I did not realize at the time, that we weren’t listening to the real objections the farmers and ranchers had. They were saying there were for wind energy. But they said this was disrupting their farming operations. They were hearing they weren’t valued. …

“They were hearing me say that this company that was coming in and going across their land was more important than they were. It was really a moment for me when I figured out that on the one side this being as good as sliced bread, that it had so much benefit for our lands, I didn’t realize that those farmers who were in the room who had legitimate concerns were saying, “What have I been doing for 100 years? What about what my dad, grandfather, and great-grandfather have been doing?”

PERC_Logo_MontanaEthicPERC—the Property & Environment Research Center—is a proud sponsor of the Montana Ethic Project. To learn how PERC’s ideas can help us honor one another’s rights to land, water, and wildlife, visit

First week: Project introduction.

Second week: Richard Drake on “Terrorism and the Consolation of History.”

Third week: Mike Gear on “The Value of Athletics.”

Fourth week: Franke Wilmer on “Gender Equity.”

Fifth week: Gordon Brittan: “The Founding Fathers.”

Sixth week: Jim Posewitz: “Montana Sportsmen and the Hunter’s Ethic.”

Seventh week: The Rev. Jessica Crist: “Religion and Politics: Can They Co-exist?”

Eighth week: Chuck Tooley: “The Montana Character.”

Ninth week: Steve Bullock: “Citizens United v. Montana.”

10th week: Carol Williams: “The Imperative for Female Government Participation.”

11th week: Bob Rowe:  “Towards Technological Development.”

12th weekGeorge Metcalfe: “Economic Development in Africa and Its Relationship to Montana.”

13th weekBruce Smith: “Montana’s Food Economy.”

Next week: Mark Solon: “Creating an Intermountain West Startup Economy.”

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