Well folks, HB483 (Llew Jones – R, Conrad) just passed second reading in the Senate on a vote of 28-20 and will almost surely pass the entire legislature. If you thought the Montana constitution gave you a right to a clean and healthy environment, the legislature just took that right away from you. Want to appeal an air or water permit? Sorry, you have to post a large bond first, unless you are the corporate applicant. Company make a change in the permit after the public comment period? Sorry, you can’t bring that up in an appeal. Oh and, you now have 15 days to figure out the permit and file an appeal. That is, if the company decides that you have standing to make an appeal. Sorry Montana.
If you are really peaved, and you should be, about this year’s push in the legislature to hasten the building of new, polluting power sources in the state, there is one very helpful thing that you can do. If you oppose all this “Clean Coal” crap and are truly worried about climate change, you had better make sure that you are recycling as much of your waste as possible. Here is a quote from Recycle Montana, a relatively new nonprofit working to increase recycling awareness in Montana:
Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for two hours, a computer for three hours, a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours. One recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for three hours. It takes 70 percent less energy to recycle paper than to make it from raw materials.
Recycle Montana will help you find about recycling in your local community and offers practical help and tips to save energy that would otherwise come from these extremely dirty power sources. Our current recycling rate is around 18% and that’s pretty poor. Part of the reason is that transportation and commodity prices make it hard for recyclers in Montana. We’re a long ways from the markets, but that should be no excuse for not giving it our best shot. The state offers tax incentives for businesses to use recycled material and DEQ offers a Guide for Buying Recycled Products. Look for local schools, churches, and organizations that have recycling efforts and support them. If we, as citizens, want to stop the building of dirty power in Montana, one of our best resources is to reduce the need for that dirty power in the first place by conservation and recycling. Join these nice folks and local groups to reduce the need to build crappy power projects in Montana.