This week in the Legislature - act now to protect clean water and air

Monday, April 18, 2011
 
Friends,
 
It looks like this is the last week of the 62nd state legislative session.  Thank you so much for you energized engagement.  Montana’s clean water, air and healthy communities will weather this storm because of the hundreds of calls, emails, letters and personal visits to lawmakers and Governor Schweitzer.
 
We can’t let up the pressure yet.
 
You must have seen Governor Schweitzer’s searing veto brand toast SB 306, the bill that would have resurrected cyanide mining in Montana last week.  He also vetoed attacks on renewable energy (SB 109) and sound local planning (HB 542).  Thankfully, the Governor also vetoed HB 180, a rollback of Montana’s Election Day registration.
 
We are confident that the Governor will veto bills that muddy Montana’s clean water and pollute the air
 
Unfortunately, one of the session’s worst attacks on our bedrock environmental protections cleared its last legislative hurdle today.  Now we need Governor Schweitzer to veto SB 233, the bill that eviscerates the Montana Environmental Policy Act.  If you have not contacted him yet, please call (444.3111) or email him TODAY and ask him to veto SB 233.
 
A few bills are still in legislative play. 
 
Notably, tomorrow the Senate will likely consider SB 379 (Sen. Olson, R – Roundup), an effort to prevent local governments from implementing county growth policies and protecting property rights, open space and safe neighborhoods.  Please contact your Senator and urge him/her to vote no on this bill.
 
When the session adjourns as early as later this week, we’ll send a short report of what passed, and what has been killed.  We’ll also let you know what to expect from the special session, and how you can thank legislators and hold them accountable in the mean time.
 
It has been a pleasure to talk to you over the course of the session.  If you have used these action alerts, let me know how.  If you have ideas on how we could improve them, please jot down your ideas. 
 
Thanks,
 
Sarah Cobler, Program Director

No on SB 379, Sen. Alan Olson, Senate Floor, 3rd  Reading.  This bill would make it much more difficult for counties to provide for orderly development and to implement county growth policies.  Current law provides that a proposed zoning district can be blocked for a year by protest of persons owning 50% of the land affected by the zoning.  SB 379 would reduce this to only 25% and allow a small minority of large landowners to frustrate the desires of the vast majority of homeowners to have a say in the development of their community.  The protest could be overridden only by a unanimous county commission or a super-majority.  An override would also require extensive findings that the benefits of zoning outweigh any adverse affects on the property of the protesting owners.

 

Please review the Conservation Hotlist for a summary of the bills up for hearing and floor action this week.  Call and email your legislators.  They need to know you value clean air, water and our abundant wildlife.
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