By Amanda Eggert, Montana Free Press
A look at how legislators changed Montana laws dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, MEPA and local control.
Weeks before the 68th Legislature, Montana lawmakers garnered national attention with news that Rep. Steve Gunderson, R-Libby, was considering a measure to revise Montanans’ right to a “clean and healthful environment” afforded by the state’s 50-year-old Constitution. Although that effort ultimately floundered, it illuminates a source of tension that carried through the session: Republican lawmakers’ frustration with environmentalists’ success styming large natural resource projects.
Gunderson may have hit pause on his bill — he put the draft request for LC 2385 on hold in late December and left it there — but the Republican supermajority in Helena found other ways to support industry objectives, with ramifications for how large mines and power plants are permitted and whether local governments can steer their communities toward sources of cleaner energy.