Working group meets to discuss changes to state environmental regulations
A state working group tasked with recommending changes to Montana’s environmental regulations held its first meeting Monday.
The group is made up of lawmakers, energy companies, environmental nonprofits and private citizens. Four subcommittees will offer up recommendations to improve the Montana Environmental Policy Act, or MEPA.
One of those subgroups is focused specifically on climate impact analyses. Derf Johnson from the Montana Environmental Information Center is one of the members. He questioned how the group’s work fits in amongst several ongoing court cases over MEPA.
“Is this particular subgroup just ignoring what’s going on there? Is it informing that process?” Johnson said.
The Montana Supreme Court ordered the state to analyze greenhouse gas emissions under MEPA while it appeals a lower court ruling in the climate case, Held v. Montana.
The Department of Environmental Quality’s Director Chris Dorrington told members he would not be discussing active litigation, including the Held appeal, and wants them to focus on issues outside of legal challenges.
In addition to climate impacts, Dorrington has asked the group to review public engagement, implementation, education and outreach of the policy. The work group will send Dorrington recommendations by May.