This is a busy week for us at the capitol. Many important bills impacting clean water and wildlife have public hearings and votes scheduled. Plus, for the first time in a long while, a climate change bill is scheduled for a vote on the Senate Floor. We’ve provided four opportunities for you to contact your representatives and legislative committees to make your voice heard! We hope you’ll make a call or send a message, or two, or four! As we hit the final stretch of this legislative session, we’ll require your help as much as ever to help get the votes we need!
HB 593 would require that mines proposed in sulphide ore bodies post a bond that is 50% greater than the normally calculated bond amount. Sulphide ore, when exposed to air and water, can cause a chemical process that leads to acid mine drainage, a pollutant that has damaged the water quality and aquatic life of several Montana rivers and streams. This bill would also require that operating mines conduct an independent audit every three years to assure that the mining company is complying with all existing laws and their permit, and that the bond amount is adequate for reclamation.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Nate McConnell (D-Missoula) and had its first public hearing in House Natural Resources on Monday, March 20th. Please send a message to the committee or contact committee members and ask them to VOTE YES on HB 593, because mining companies shouldn’t be profiting from Montana’s natural resources if it means polluting our waters and leaving the taxpayers to clean up the mess.
We are opposing this resolution for the simple reason that wildlife management should be left to wildlife agencies and experts, not members of Congress or state legislators. There is a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 21st, so please consider sending a message to the Senate Natural Resources Committee or contact members individually and asking them to VOTE NO on HJ 15. You can simply tell them that the process of grizzly bear delisting should be supervised by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and decisions on population viability should be made by biologists, not Congress.
This bill, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R-Thompson Falls), calls for an amendment to Montana’s constitution to guarantee the right of Montanans to hunt, fish, and trap. While this might not sound troubling, the language used in the bill, according to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, will complicate wildlife management, including their ability to regulate these activities through licenses, seasonal restrictions, quotas and bag limits, and other regulations currently in place. It is unclear what right the state would have to regulate these activities when they become Constitutional rights. Montanans already enjoy the right to engage in lawful hunting, fishing, and trapping opportunities, so this bill is unnecessary.
We expect a committee vote on this bill as soon as today, Tuesday March 21st, so please send a message to the Senate Fish and Game Committee and ask them to VOTE NO on SB 236 – an unnecessary bill that would further complicate wildlife management in Montana.
This week we are expecting a rare event on the floor of the Senate Chamber…. a discussion on climate change! A vote on Senate Bill 190, sponsored by Sen. Mike Phillips (D-Bozeman) and Sen. Dick Barrett (D-Missoula), was expected last week and then changed at the last minute. This means you still have time to contact your Senator and tell them you support a YES VOTE on SB 190.
This bill would create a Montana solution for addressing climate change in the absence of comprehensive actions at the federal level. It requires the state to identify significant sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and develop a comprehensive, least-cost, and enforceable plan for capping and reducing those emissions. The bill would direct the Department of Environmental Quality to develop this plan and would require future legislative action to enact it, so we are just talking about developing a plan here. This should be an easy bill for every legislator to get behind. Please contact your legislator today and tell them you support state-level efforts to plan for and reduce Montana’s greenhouse gas emissions!
As always, thanks for your support! We’re more effective when we work together….Go, Fly, Win!