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The Latest: Gov. Bullock says Montana to join climate group

July 1, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s executive order on climate change (all times local):

1 p.m.

Gov. Steve Bullock says Montana will be the 25th state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group created in response to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

The Democratic governor made the announcement Monday as part of an executive order that also creates a 30-person council that will recommend how the state should deal with climate change.

Bullock says joining the alliance will give Montana a chance to learn from other states that are crafting their own climate change policies.

The new council will have a June 2020 deadline to recommend a plan to include how to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 and ways to support innovation and research.

Montana Department of Environmental Quality Director Shaun McGrath says the aim is to make sure the state has a thoughtful, forward-thinking approach to climate change.

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11:50 a.m.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says he’s open to supporting the proposed Keystone XL pipeline “if it’s done right.”

Bullock’s comments came Monday in response to a question during an online town hall meeting on climate change. It underscores the tension of being both governor of an energy-producing state and one of nearly two dozen Democratic presidential candidates.

Most Democratic candidates oppose the proposed pipeline from Canada, citing its potential to add to greenhouse gas emissions. An exception is U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.

Bullock says he’s forming a panel to make recommendations on how to reduce emissions in Montana and prepare the state for the effects of climate change.

When asked if he supports the pipeline, Bullock said the idea can’t be taken off the table if done right.

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