Prospecting for Wind

There's still a handful of influentials left in states like Michigan poo-pooing the potential for energy innovation to generate jobs, stimulate investment, and help reverse decades of decline.

But the experience of states like Montana, which two years ago adopted the modest goal of achieving 15 percent renewable energy by 2015, tells a different story. Check out this sampling of quotes from an article titled 'The New Gold Rush,' which ran yesterday in the Great Falls Tribune:

"In a way, it's like a mini-little gold rush," Bozeman attorney Hertha Lund said about negotiations between landowners and wind developers.

"The Montana market has gone absolutely crazy with leasing the past few months," said Sarah Hamlen, a Montana State University Extension agent in White Sulphur Springs. "A lot of landowners are getting hit by a variety of different companies."

"They wanted to make me a millionaire," said Gordon Brittan, director of Wheeler Center for Public Policy at Montana State University. "Some big money is being made."

"It's real jobs," said Cascade County Commissioner Peggy Beltrone. "It's a tax base increase in areas that have had declining tax base."