By Jim Jensen, Helena Independent Record

MEPA, the Montana Environmental Policy Act, is a Republican-sponsored law passed in 1971 that requires state agencies to prepare an environmental analysis (EIS) prior to projects being approved. It has been routinely weakened by the Legislature due to lobbying by special interests.

In 1992 the Montana Department of Transportation adopted an Environmental Impact Statement that recommended the construction of an interstate highway interchange north of Helena at Forestvale Road. However, in 1999, when the project was about to go to bid, MDT staff realized that many of the 1992 assumptions about growth and infrastructure expansion in the Helena area were wrong…

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