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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

Regulators reopen public comment on petition to consider climate change in their decision-making

State utility regulators have reopened public comment on a petition that would require them to consider the impacts of climate change as part of their decision-making.

Montana’s Public Service Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to extend public input on the proposal until early July.

The petition was submitted earlier this spring by over 40 environmental groups, businesses, doctors and students. It would have the PSC incorporate metrics like contributions to climate change and the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions into their regulation of utility power companies.

PSC President James Brown said more time was needed so commissioners could ask questions of supporters and opponents of the proposal.

“I think it is advisable for us, given the high public interest in this, to reopen the public comment period to allow our staff and the commissioners to ask questions which we were unable to do during the public hearing,” Brown said.

Public comment was previously scheduled to end in mid April. Commissioner Annie Bukacek was the one ‘no’ vote, saying she did not support the petition and believed the consideration of climate change is the sole responsibility of 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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