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Gianforte Announces Transition Advisory Team For Montana Environmental Agencies

Governor-elect Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters shortly after the Associated Press called the Montana governor's race in his favor as running-mate Kristin Juras looks on, Nov. 3, 2020.
Governor-elect Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters shortly after the Associated Press called the Montana governor's race in his favor as running-mate Kristin Juras looks on, Nov. 3, 2020.

Republican Montana Governor-elect Greg Gianforte Friday announced his joint transition advisory team for two agencies key to managing the state’s natural resources.

A news release says the team will review candidates to serve as the next directors of the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

Gianforte campaigned on a promise to get rid of what he called needless delays in permitting and create good-paying Montana jobs.

The advisory team includes representatives of lumber, oil and gas, engineering and construction industries, along with local and state elected officials. It also includes the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s president and a water rights and property law attorney.

Gianforte said in the news release the state can responsibly develop natural resources while protecting the environment but “for too long, state government has stood in the way with DNRC and DEQ serving as project prevention departments."

Montana DNRC is currently led by John Tubbs, appointed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock in 2016. DEQ Director Shaun McGrath was appointed by Bullock in 2018.

Gianforte’s Montana Comeback Plan, released during the campaign, prioritizes a top-to-bottom review of every state agency to cut what it calls unnecessary regulations. The plan also pledges to install new leaders at state agencies.

Members of Governor-elect Gianforte's DNRC and DEQ transition advisory team are:

Scott Aspenlieder – co-founder and owner of Performance Engineering, a civil engineering firm; public member of the 2019-2020 Environmental Quality Council

Chris Budeski – engineer and owner of Madison Engineering, a civil engineering firm

Bud Clinch – former DNRC director; former executive director of the Montana Coal Council

Colleen Coyle – owner of Coyle Law PLLC in Bozeman; attorney specializing in water rights and property law

Eugene Graf IV former president of the Montana Building Industry Association; owner of EG Construction in Bozeman

Tom Hauptman owner of KGH Operating Co.

Steve Marks – owner of Marks Lumber

Doug Martens – Rosebud County Commissioner; President of the Montana Association of Counties; rancher

Alan Olson – executive director of the Montana Petroleum Association

Chuck Roady – vice president and general manager of Stoltze Land & Lumber Co.; former director of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation;

Nancy Schlepp – vice president of communications and corporate secretary for Sandfire Resources America, Inc.; former Meagher County Commissioner; rancher

Chas Vincent former Montana state senator (SD-1) who chaired the Senate Natural Resources Committee

Kyle Weaver – president and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio

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