MEIC is once again providing a list of five or so things you can do each week to help protect the environment and fight for action on climate change. Important decisions on the environment move quickly and your help is needed as changes happen, especially in the legislature. We urge you to make a few telephone calls and send a few e-mails each week to help protect our rights to clean air, clean water and a healthy climate. You can always call (406) 444-4800 and leave a message for a legislator(s) and ask them to support or oppose specific legislation.
1. Attend the Conservation Community Lobby Day on Wednesday, February 6th
This Wednesday, February 6th in Helena is the first Conservation Community Lobby Day of the 2019 Legislature!
Members and supporters from conservation organizations across the state will be coming to the Capitol to fight for clean water, clean air, clean energy, and more!
We’ll start the day with a citizen lobby training from 9:30 to 11:00 AM, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in the Sanctuary (512 Logan Street, Helena, MT). You’ll receive an exclusive training from policy experts in the conservation community on lobbying and a briefing on conservation priority issues. Coffee and breakfast snacks will be provided.
Then, we’ll head to the Capitol to meet with legislators and participate/observe committee hearings from 12:00pm to 5:00 PM.
Your one-on-one conversations with legislators CAN make the difference on what bills pass and do not pass, so please consider attending!
2. Support Legislation that Would Reduce Carbon Pollution in Montana.
SB 189 by Senator Mike Phillips (D-Bozeman) and Senator Dick Barrett (D-Missoula) would establish a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from electric generation facilities. The bill also directs the Montana Board of Environmental Review to adopt rules governing emissions reporting, a carbon offset program, and greenhouse gas fees to fund the state program. The bill also institutes a $10 carbon tax less any carbon offsets that are authorized by rule. Sources can reduce their carbon emissions obligations by 50% using carbon offsets. The bill will be heard in Senate Energy on Thursday, February 7th at 3:00 PM in room 317.
SB 190 by Senator Mike Phillips (D-Bozeman) would require the state to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 2010 levels by the following timeframe: 25% reduction by 2022; 50% reduction by 2030; and 100% reduction by 2050. The state must also develop a monitoring and reporting program and track progress toward the reduction goals. The bill will be heard in Senate Energy on Thursday, February 7th, at 3:00 PM in room 317.
3. Protect Clean Water and Our Climate by Continuing to Support Legislation on Keystone (repeat from last week)
Last week the Montana Legislature considered two bills that could have significant implications for the Keystone XL pipeline if enacted. These bills are important enough that we decided to include them on this list as well.
SB 97 by Senator Frank Smith (D-Poplar), requires pipeline permit applicants to complete construction within seven years of their application approval. Applicants who fail to meet this deadline will have to reapply. It will also require that agencies evaluate the impacts to cultural resources, such as important Native American sites, when conducting an environmental impact statement for a pipeline application. SB 97 also requires installation of shut-off valves to protect critical freshwater resources, leak detection equipment to improve response times for pipeline bursts, and siting requirements to avoid “sensitive” areas.
The bill had a hearing on Wednesday, January 30th. The Senate Natural Resources Committee is likely to take a vote this week. If you haven’t done so already, please contact the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
HB 271 by Representative Bridget Smith (D-Wolf Point), requires that new pipelines, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, be located within the footprint of existing pipeline infrastructure and that the pipeline avoid sensitive areas such as state parks, federal Wilderness areas, and tribally recognized cultural sites. HB 271 also requires installation of shut-off valves to protect critical freshwater resources, and a more thorough analysis of a proposed pipeline’s impacts to Montana heritage properties. The bill also requires that the pipeline be constructed within seven years of permit approval.
The bill had a hearing on Wednesday, January 30th. The House Natural Resources Committee is likely to take a vote this week. If you haven’t done so already, please contact the House Natural Resources Committee.
4. Call Tester & Daines to Oppose EPA Administrator Wheeler (repeat from two weeks ago)
On January 9th, Trump nominated climate change denier and fossil fuel enthusiast Andrew Wheeler to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Wheeler assumed the role on a temporary basis in July 2018 following the resignation of his scandal ridden predecessor, Scott Pruitt. Since manning the helm, Wheeler has been weakening restrictions on dangerous methane pollution and plugs his ears while screaming “LA, LA, LA!” when presented with science on the increasing severity of climate change impacts.
After just six months, we’ve already had our fill of Wheeler’s “leadership.”
The Senate will soon vote on the nomination, and Montana’s Senate delegation to Washington must hear from the critical mass of folks who don’t want a fossil fuel lackey running the EPA. Contact Senator Tester at (202) 224-2644 (Online Form) and Senator Daines at (202) 224-2651 (Online Form) and tell them to oppose the Wheeler confirmation.