Up this week. SB440, sponsored by Kelly Gephardt (R) of Roundup gets a hearing tomorrow, 3/11 in the House Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications committee. This bill would pretty much exempt Montana citizens from participating in the permitting process for DEQ air quality permits. Air quality permits would be exempt from environmental review under the bill and if you don’t like it, you’re just a cry baby. Citizens could not propose alternative solutions or mitigation measures. Please help stop this bill.
SB481 goes to the House Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications committee on 3/13. This silly bill, sponsored by Greg Barkus (R) of Kalispell would exempt projects under the federal stimulus plan from the MEPA process. Most of these projects have already been in the pipeline for a time, but many have not been acted on because of their serious environmental impacts. This bill would just overlook any pollution or health issues and go full steam ahead on good and bad projects alike.
Some minor good news. SB387, sponsored by Keith Bales (R) Otter, that would have seriously undermined the public’s rights to appeal air quality permits, was tabled in the House Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications committee yesterday. The reason this is not really good news it that the companion bill, HB483, by Llew Jones (R) of of Conrad is still alive and kicking. HB483 is just as bad or worse than SB387 because it includes water quality permits. HB483 gets a hearing in the Senate Energy and Telecommuications committee on 3/19. Let the members of the committee know that you are pissed and want this legislation stopped in it’s tracks.
Coming up, on 3/19: HB529 also by Llew Jones, goes before the Senate Energy and Telecommunications committee. This one is meant to weaken the state’s environmental review of energy projects on state lands. On the plus side, also on the 19th, HB190 to codify stream access at bridges comes before the Senate Fish and Game committee. This is a very good bill which passed the House by 97-3. It shouldn’t have too much problem, but the Fish and Game committee are a fairly tough audience for conservation and environmental issues so, it could use some support from you.
Find local members of the Senate or House committees and contact them by calling 406-444-4800 to leave a message or use the Legislature Online Message Form. Most members also have personal email addresses which you can find under their personal profile.