By Mark Moran, Public News Service
Montana’s environmental advocates are criticizing Gov. Greg Gianforte for signing a bill they said will allow the state to ignore the impacts of climate change when developers construct large-scale energy projects such as coal mines and power plants. The measure received a lot of attention during the legislative session, most of it in opposition.
House Bill 971 builds on a decade-old law prohibiting the state from including actual or potential impacts which are “regional, national or global in nature” in environmental reviews of big energy projects.
Anne Hedges, spokesperson for the Montana Environmental Information Center, said the measure is a direct attack on the state’s most precious natural resources and leaves them unprotected.
“You’re telling the public and you’re telling the state their rights don’t matter,” Hedges asserted. “That they don’t really have a right to a clean and healthful environment and the state has no obligation to protect people from the very real dangers of the climate crisis.”