Support the Big Sky Rivers Act – HB455

by jhwygirl

In House Local Government committee tomorrow, Rep. Michele Reinhart’s HB455 will be heard at a hearing scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday.

With apologies to the late notice. It was something I had intended to get to sooner.

HB455 is titled The Big Sky Rivers Act, and would protect 9 major rivers and a portion of one, with buffers of streamside areas and protections to riparian habitat immediately adjacent. The bill does so by establishing minimal standards, while authorizing local regulations to be enacted, should local governing authorities choose. It also exempts areas that have sewer or onsite wastewater management facilities, existing structures, and agricultural uses.

The 10 major streams?
Bitterroot River
Blackfoot River
Clark Fork River
Flathead River
Gallatin River
Jefferson River
Madison River
Missouri River from its headwaters near Three Forks to the line between Cascade and Choteau Counties
Smith River, and
Yellowstone River from the Montana-Wyoming border to the line between Treasure and Rosebud Counties.

I want to remind everyone – things are moving at breakneck speed now. We’re darn near the halfway point – and bills need to be moving. Take this into consideration: Senate Republicans blocked funding for CHIP expansion – approved overwhelmingly by Montana voters this past election – after just slightly more than an approval in the House of HB157 (which, to note, had bipartisan support).

Apparently, voters didn’t know what they were doing.

But I digress….

Please take the time tonight to contact members of the House Local Government committee and them know that Montana is Nothing Without Its Rivers. Let them know that protecting our rivers means protecting the riparian areas adjacent. Protecting our rivers means protecting them from excessive nitrates and nutrient flow from septic intrusion into the water table. Now is the time….because, as I say: Time’s a’wastin’.

Elsie Arntzen (Chair of the House Local Government Committee)
Betsy Hands (D) (Vice Chair)
Gary MacLaren (Vice Chair)
Arlene Becker
Gerals Bennett
Tom Berry
Robyn Driscoll
Bob Ebinger
Wanda Grinde
Robin Hamilton
Pat Ingraham
Mike Menahan
Michael More
Scott Reichner
Michele Reinhart
Diane Sands
Wayne Stahl
Gordon Vance

You can also call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for the entire legislative committee. Make sure to mention the bill, by number (HB455). Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462. The Session Information Desk opens at 7:30 a.m., and closes at 5 p.m.

For more on this important legislation, head on over to Button Valley.

  1. Lucky

    Thanks guys! Very good info. This one may be a tough sell. There is some big money behind defeating this bill. But, we need it so, we’ll keep fighting the good fight. Thanks again for chiming in.

  2. Pronghorn

    How amazing and appalling is it that we should have to “convince” ANYone to support a measure so modest and common sensical as this one? I just e-mailed everyone on the committee–thanks. Now if you’ll excuse me, I hafta get to buildin’ my 7000 sq ft trophy home at water’s edge before some damn guvmint regulator comes along to stop me from my god-given right.

  3. ladybug

    This is a must pass.

    Another bill not even being considered would end the anti-degradation EXEMPTION for non-point source pollution. This is why the agriculture, timber industry and others are never held accountable for pollution they cause.

  4. klemz

    A sincere godspeed to the active proponents of this bill. You’re absolutely going to need it.

  5. common sense and the public good holds no sway with the far right republican lawmakers. billions of cent$ seem to rule them.

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