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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Senate passes bill to block consideration of greenhouse gas emissions for proposed projects

The Montana Senate has endorsed a bill that would ban state environmental regulators from considering greenhouse gas emissions when reviewing proposed projects.

The bill was brought in response to a District Court Judge ruling earlier this month that stopped construction on a new methane plant in Laurel, citing a lack of review of greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts.

Supporters of the bill, like Senate Majority Leader Steve Fitzpatrick, say the judge’s decision was out of bounds and stalls economic development.

“We've already laid off all the people who are working at the plant, putting it in, all those people are now out of a work. I don't think that's a knee jerk reaction,” Fitzpatrick said.

Opponents say the bill hampers citizen’s ability to know all impacts of a proposed project and have criticized the hasty process of the bill through the Legislature.

The GOP supermajority used its power to suspend the rules and introduce the bill in the House, and subsequently, committees in both chambers have taken action on the bill immediately after hearing it.

The Senate voted on party lines to advance the legislation.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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