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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Gov. signs bill limiting oversight of greenhouse gas emissions

Gov. Gianforte has signed a bill changing Montana’s Environmental Policy Act. House Bill 971, which says state regulators can no longer consider greenhouse gas emissions or contributions to climate change when assessing the environmental impacts of a proposed development project.

The bill was a top priority of majority leadership in both chambers, following a court ruling that revoked the air quality permit for Northwestern Energy’s construction of a new gas plant in Laurel. The judge said he pulled the permit because the Department of Environmental Quality failed to account for the project’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Legislature’s Republican supermajority used its power to suspend the chamber’s rules and introduce this bill after procedural deadlines.

Supporters of the bill said climate change is too far reaching for the state to consider.

Opponents said the bill would infringe on citizen’s rights to know all impacts of a project, and is overreach by the Legislature.

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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