The end of the legislature is near, and we can feel it. Montana Audubon has less to do now, but on the other side, the amount that legislators are dealing with each given day is growing. We expect that the legislature is trying to Sine Die by this Thursday 4/18, and while we sprint to the finish, we ask for your help on this final push. Let Governor Steve Bullock know that he should continue to protect our wildlife, clean energy future, and way of life in Montana.
Thanks for all the help this session!
Amy and Wyatt
SB 331 continually amended but is still a horrible bill.
SB 331, introduced by Senator Tom Richmond (R-Billings), has been amended so many times it is difficult to read. And while many people make it sound like the amendments make the bill okay, it still contains many bad policies: It would still saddle NorthWestern Energy customers like you and us with unknown and unreasonable costs; despite the amendments, it would still allow the monopoly utility to add un-reviewed liabilities and increased costs to the utility bills of customers by avoiding PSC oversight for the purchase of a large generation resource — ratepayers could be on the hook for an increased share of the $700 million cleanup of the plant.
It is imperative that this bill is stopped. If it does not get voted down in the House we will be asking the Governor for a Veto. Please reach out to your House Representative and ask them to VOTE NO on SB 331.
Bill: Senate Bill 331 — Establish the Montana Energy Security Act
Status: The bill is on 2nd Reading in the House
Montana Audubon Position – OPPOSE
Reducing timber bid competition
HB 441, introduced Representative Kerry White (R-Bozeman), would eliminate the timber conservation license in lieu of sale. This license was created in the 90s with bipartisan support to allow groups to bid against timber companies for timber on state trust lands. The state trust lands were created to provide long term monies for Montana’s schools, and eliminating the competition for groups to bid on state trust land is not good for our state, or schools. This bill is direct retaliation against a conservation organization in Bozeman that out-bid a timber company.
We need to let the Governor know that he should veto this retaliatory bill. You can call Governor Steve Bullock’s office at: (406) 444-3111.
Bill: House Bill 441 — Repeal timber conservation license in lieu of sale
Status: The bill has been sent to Enrolling
Montana Audubon Position –OPPOSE
Conservation easements and politics
HB 265, introduced by Representative Kerry White (R-Bozeman), would insert politics into the decision making process of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ purchase of conservation easements. This bill would add an unnecessary layer of government to conservation easements for fish and wildlife habitat conservation and public hunting access. It would require state Land Board approval for conservation easements under the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Habitat Montana program if they are larger than 100 acres or valued over $100,000. It directly conflicts with a 2018 state Supreme Court ruling that found easements were not intended to go through the Land Board, and are final, once approved by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission.
We need to be sure that Governor Bullock will Veto HB 265. Please call his office at (406) 444-3111 and ask him to say NO to HB 265.
Bill: House Bill 265- Revise laws related to approval of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ easements
Status: Sent to the Governor
Montana Audubon Position – OPPOSE