Montana Audubon

Montana Audubon works at the local, state and national policy levels to protect our natural heritage.

Legislative Action Alert: February 5, 2019

The 4th week of the legislature began and ended with petroleum issues which of course, is directly related to climate change, an issue affecting all of us. We worked all week to make it clear to our elected officials that continued dependence on oil and petroleum products have negative impacts on our birds, wildlife, and their habitat. You can help us spread this message: our citizen lobbying days are fast approaching and we hope that you will join us on February 6th and March 8th, locations TBD. If you are planning to attend, please RSVP by contacting Amy Seaman ([email protected]) or Wyatt Smith ([email protected]).

Thanks for your support,

Amy & Wyatt

Water and oil

HB 271 introduced by Representative Bridget Smith (D-Wolf Point) requires that new pipelines, such as the Keystone XL, be located within the footprint of existing pipeline infrastructure and that it avoid sensitive areas such as state parks, federal wilderness areas, and tribally recognized cultural sites. HB 271 also requires installation of shut-off valves to protect critical freshwater resources, and a more thorough analysis of the proposed pipeline impacts to Montana heritage properties. The bill also mandates that the pipeline be constructed within seven years of permit approval. This bill moves us toward better protection of Montana’s irreplaceable water and wildlife resources.

In Montana the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would cross 389 water bodies, including intermittent, perennial, and ephemeral streams. During the process of writing the Montana Environmental Impact Statement, DEQ reviewed the streams that the pipeline would cross to evaluate potential impacts. Many of the streams they did check were flagged for route concerns, incision concerns, and some were listed as needing possible alternative crossing. Particularly great risks come with the Keystone XL crossing of the Milk River which would directly threaten drinking water in the Fork Peck area.

Bill: House Bill 271- Revise laws related to siting pipelines

Status: Up for Hearing in Natural Resources

Montana Audubon Position – Support


House Natural Resources:

Rep. Kerry White (R-Bozeman)

Rep. Theresa Manzella (R-Hamilton)

Rep. Willis Curdy (D-Missoula)

Rep. Bob Brown (R-Thompson Falls)

Rep. Zach Brown (D-Bozeman)

Rep. Robert Farris-Olson (D-Helena)

Rep. Ross Fitzgerald (R-Fairfield)

Rep. Steve Gundersen (R-Libby)

Rep. Emma Kerr-Carpenter (D-Billings)

Rep. Casey Knudsen (R-Malta)

Rep. Rhonda Knudsen (R-Culbertson)

Rep. Marilyn Marler (D-Missoula)

Rep. Dale Mortensen (R-Billings)

Rep. Mark Noland (R-Big Fork)

Rep. Marvin Weatherwax (D-Browning)

Disposable bags – the value and cost

On average, each Montana citizen uses 360 single-use bags per year, many of which end up in landfills or in the environment as litter and plastic pollution. SB 121 introduced by Senator Sue Malek (D-Missoula) would establish a 4-cent tax on both paper and plastic single-use bags. The tax would  fund a grant program which could then be used to fund businesses, nonprofits, local governments, and state agencies to bolster recycling and waste reduction in our state. This bill would generate almost 4 million dollars a year, while also reducing the consumption of wasteful single-use bags. Please call your legislators and ask them to support this sensible step forward.

Bill: Senate Bill 121 – Establish a fee for disposable carryout bags

Status: Waiting for Executive Action

Montana Audubon Position – Support


Senate Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs:

Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick (R-Great Falls)

Sen. Dee Brown (R-Hungry Horse)

Sen. Sue Malek (D-Missoula)

Sen. Carlie Boland (D-Great Falls)

Sen. Jason Ellsworth (R-Hamilton)

Sen. Terry Gauthier (R-Helena)

Sen. Frank Smith (D-Poplar)

Sen. Jason Small (R-Busby)

Sen. Gordan Vance (R-Belgrade)

Sen. Gene Vuckovich (D-Anaconda)

Putting a price on carbon emissions

Climate changing is happening; we are experiencing it, the data shows it, and our wildlife is going to be pressured to adapt to it. It is important for us to do what we can to lower carbon emissions, and this bill is one of those ways.

HB 193, introduced by Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell (D-Helena), would require large sources of greenhouse gases (i.e., coal-fired power plants and refineries) to pay $10 per ton of such emissions into the atmosphere. It also would require the state to develop and implement a modest plan to reduce greenhouse emissions below 2005 levels by 25% by 2035 and 50% by 2050. This bill would force large industrial polluters to incorporate climate risks caused by greenhouse gases into the cost of doing business. Putting a price on carbon emissions helps level the playing field by making sure all fuel costs reflect a small portion of impacts. The revenue generated by HB 193 would go toward coal community transition, remediation of contaminated sites, economic development, infrastructure and the state general fund.

Please let the House Taxation committee know that you support this step forward and to VOTE YES on HB 193 to reduce Montana’s production of carbon emissions.

Bill: House Bill 193 – Establish a carbon tax and distribute revenue

Status: Waiting for Executive Action

Montana Audubon Position – Support


House Taxation:

Rep. Alan Redfield (R-Livingston)

Rep. Becky Beard (R-Elliston)

Rep. Zach Brown (D-Bozeman)

Rep. Kim Abbott (D-Helena)

Rep. Dave Fern (D-Whitefish)

Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell (D-East Helena)

Rep. John Fuller (R-Kalispell)

Rep. Emma Kerr-Carpenter (D-Billings)

Rep. Marilyn Marler (D-Missoula)

Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway (R-Great Falls)

Rep. Bridget Smith (D-Wolf Point)

Rep. Tom Welch (R-Dillion)

Rep. Kerry White (R-Bozeman)

Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R-Billings)

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