By Amanda Eggert, Montana Free Press
House Bill 971 comes as Montana courts are poised to consider how “clean and healthful environment” protections intersect with energy regulations.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed into law a bill that bars the state from considering climate impacts in its analysis of large projects such as coal mines and power plants.
House Bill 971 was among the most controversial energy- and environment-related proposals before the Legislature this session, drawing more than 1,000 comments, 95% of which expressed opposition to the measure. HB 971 bars state regulators like the Montana Department of Environmental Quality from including analyses of greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts, both within and outside Montana’s borders, when conducting comprehensive reviews of large projects. It builds off of a decade-old law barring the state from including “actual or potential impacts that are regional, national, or global in nature” in environmental reviews.