MEIC regularly sends out a brief list of things you can do to help Montana’s environment. Please feel free to share these with others. Together, we can make a difference!
1. Tell the Montana Legislature NOT to Increase Taxes for Wind
The future of clean energy in Montana needs your help! The Senate Taxation Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 85 by Senator Duane Ankney (R-Colstrip) this Thursday. If passed, SB 85 would double in some instances and quadruple in other instances, the taxes on wind projects in Montana. This tax increase will make it less economically viable for wind developers to build projects in Montana. Montana knows that wind developers are eager to start development in the state, and Montana’s legislature should be making it easier, not more difficult for this emerging industry to flourish in the state.
MEIC is asking you to help us stop this disastrous bill. On Thursday, January 14th, at 9 a.m. the Senate Taxation committee will hold a hearing and accept public testimony. Please register to testify here before noon on Wednesday, January 13th. You may also submit written testimony directly to the committee by going to MEIC’s website or the legislative services website. For more information, please send an email to email@example.com with the subject “SB 85.”
2. Find Out How YOU Can Participate in the 2021 Session
We know that the 2021 Legislative Session is going to be a wild one. With the pandemic still raging until vaccines can be distributed safely, the Montana State Legislature is allowing Montanans to testify remotely. However, registering to testify for these hearings is confusing. That’s why MEIC will host another training session to make sure that you are prepared to participate. During these training sessions MEIC will address: (1) what to anticipate during the legislative session; (2) how to participate in the legislative session; and (3) some tips to make the most of your remote testimony.
MEIC hosted its first training session last week, and the feedback we received was outstanding! We will continue to host these legislative session updates every Thursday at 5 pm through April to help you know what’s going on and better participate. If you would like to participate in the session, please click this link on Thursday at 5 pm. If you have any further questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Tell the Legislature to Say NO to Another MEPA Exemption
Please take a few minutes and contact the members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, and request that they amend SB 53 sponsored by Sen. Jeff Welborn (R-Dillon) so that permitting of rock quarries is not exempt from the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). SB 53 had a hearing on Friday, January 8th in the Senate Natural Resources Committee and is awaiting executive action by the committee.
SB 53 would amend the hardrock mining act to change the permitting process for decorative rock quarries. While certain aspects of SB 53 are positive changes because they would free up resources at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) so that the agency can focus on other permitting decisions, the bill exempts rock quarries below 15 acres from having to conduct an environmental analysis under the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). MEPA analysis is critical to insuring that the public is notified and involved in decisions affecting our environment, and assuring that alternative permitting decisions are considered.