MEIC’s work has included many topic areas that we’re no longer actively engaging on. However, we continue to monitor these issues and will re-engage as necessary to fight for a clean and healthful environment.
Montana & the Clean Power Plan
Rescinding the Clean Power Plan hurt Montana. Within the plan were resources and funding to help coal communities transition to a new future. Now those resources are off the table and coal communities are left to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, customers of coal power (like those in Seattle who buy energy from Colstrip’s coal plant) have recognized the federal government will no longer be leading efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are looking to utilize their existing authority to stop buying coal. Thanks to the Trump Administration, instead of an orderly and resourced transition away from coal, Montana now finds its future clouded by uncertainty.
In February 2012, a district court judge ruled in favor of MEIC and other plaintiffs and determined that MDT failed to consider impacts of constructing new highway turnouts along the route. For now, we have prevented MDT from rubberstamping this project and allowing Imperial Oil to steamroll Montana.
Mercury Pollution in Montana
In December of 2011 the Environmental Protection agency created the first ever national standards to limit mercury, acid gases, and other toxic pollution from power plants. These standards are a major step towards cleaning up the air we breath and protecting public health and our environment.
Montana State Forests
Montana owns more than 5.1 million acres of school trust lands that are managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) to generate revenue for the schools, parts of the University System, and other endowed institutions. The Montana Department of Resources and Conservation began developing a 50-year multi-species habitat conservation plan (HCP) in 2004. The plan covers over 500,000 acres of forested Montana school trust lands. DNRC’s plan is intended to mitigate impacts of forest management activities on grizzly bears, Canada lynx, bull trout, western cutthroat trout and Columbia redband trout. DNRC published their final HCP in 2010 and it was approved by the state Land Board in December 2011. Unfortunately, DNRC’s plan focuses more on logging than conserving habitat for sensitive species on Montana school trust lands.
Tire Burning Pollution
In July 2006, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality gave preliminary approval, through a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), to Holcim Cement to burn more than a million tires and use 15,000 tons of toxic slag each year in its cement kiln at Trident near the headwaters of the Missouri River. Although the DEQ issued the flawed DEIS in 2006, Holcim failed to take further action in proceeding with their plans to burn tires and the permitting process remains dormant. MEIC is carefully monitoring the DEQ and Holcim to assure that any further action will be scrutinized and that Montana citizens know the full ramifications of burning tires.
Montana Smart Growth Coalition
The Montana Smart Growth Coalition was formed in November 1999. The Coalition is a network of organizations and individuals from across Montana that advocates for progressive policies regarding land use, transportation, housing, sustainable agriculture, conservation of habitat, cultural diversity, economic equity and the environment.