HB 455 – Big Sky Rivers Act – Stalled in Committee

by jhwygirl

HB455 was stalled in committee today on a party-line, 9-9 vote.

Probably dead – a tied vote is usually a death knell. But hey – let’s all debate whether guarana is a stimulant!

Blogged about here, here, and here. Probably elsewhere, too.

There wasn’t one Republican willing to at least give this a fair shake on the floor? Rep. Michael More, of Gallatin Gateway? Rep. Gordon Vance, of Bozeman? Rep. Scott Reichner, of Bigfork?

All areas that depend on tourism. And their water.

What would Montana be without its rivers and lakes and streams?

Who wins and who loses with the death of this bill? Amazing how the interests of so few can drive what affects us all.


  1. it is time to start working on retiring some completely backward thinking republican legislators in this state. they just do not listen to the will of the majority anymore. payday loans. stream access. voter registration. child medical insurance. schools, equal justice for workers, gays, women….all the way down the line. you wonder sometimes just what it is gonna take to convince the voters. god knows the republicans seem to be doing their level best to work against a decent future for montana.

  2. Pronghorn

    I couldn’t agree with you more, problembear. They are apparently so corrupted by their power base in the various industries they serve– livestock, timber, construction, energy development, etc.–that the well-being of the common citizen (and god forbid, the land & animals!) is entirely lost. I have never felt so dis-spirited by a legislative session. I heard back from a couple of conscientious Dems who responded to my message of support for our rivers–I can only imagine how frustrated THEY must feel.

    The irony is, of course, that the “common citizen” keeps sending these dinosaurs back to Helena. Argh.

  3. Local governments can, and often do, create streamside setbacks, riparian buffers, and more. Further, uses other than houses cause more damage to streams and streamsides: agriculture, dirt roads, highways. None of those were part of the bill. Let’s hope local government takes a more holistic view to streamside setbacks and takes ALL impacts to streams and streamsides into account.

    HB455 had its heart in the right place, but after about 60 amendments still couldn’t get the policy right.

    • Oh, Ryan -quit trying to sound so supportive. You and the Missoula Building Industry Association were against Missoula County when they attempted streamside setbacks…so why come here and “hope local government takes a more holistic view to streamside setbacks”?

      • Well, Rural Initiatives IS taking a more holistic view now. You can contact them about it if you’d like. In the meantime, I’ll continue to be supportive whether you like it or not. Your approval doesn’t validate or invalidate my support.

        I was not with MBIA back when the County attempted setbacks before, but I understand your frustration. I’m not sure what the County tried to do either so I can’t respond to your concerns more directly. I can say that HB455 was a bad bill and Rep. Reinhart did some funky things to try to get it passed. Missoula County also did not support HB455.

  4. still it does seem to be quite a COINCIDENCE that ONLY republicans seem to be against laws that protect our natural resources. isn’t that a curious phenomenon?

    any bill no matter how obviously needed and logical can be picked apart and gutted for any number of obviously privately profitable reasons and then justified as being not perfect enough.

    if all diamond cutting were required to be perfect we would have no wedding rings….

    politics is the art of rendering common sense incomprehensible to obfuscate critics. those of us who stick with common sense however are not easily fooled.

  5. AgTip

    QUOTE from http://www.yourmt.com/?p=878 : “Dustin Stewart, the executive director of the Montana Building Industry Association was quoted as saying ‘This bill is a takings of private property,’ By his association’s internal calculations, he estimates the regulations could cost landowners $220 million dollars in lost value.”

    Selfish, selfish, selfish! $220 Million is NOTHING compared to the joy and recreation (not so much FUN, but more like the re-CREATION OF THE SPIRIT!) that a peaceful drift down the river can give folks. If a lot of rich folks buy heaven, then there’ll be laws about us People taking pictures of it. Same with the rivers. Unless we protect our rivers now, soon there will be lawns cut down to the river’s edge, huge FOR SALE signs (neon?) shoulder to shoulder along her shores, and maybe even Security Patrols where once deer and a mountain lion might come down to water.

    I can tolerate ads alongside the interstate, the interstate is an artifact. But real estate signs alongside the Yellowstone or Clarks Fork set my teeth on edge.

    There is a time when the community at large needs to hunker down and protect what is universally OURS against the interests of a few wealthy folks (and those who wish to become wealthy at any cost).

    Our beautiful rivers are COMMONWEALTH and worth a hell of a lot more than $220 million dollars.

    • Tobie

      Oh good, just $220 Million Dollars. I assume your check is in the mail?

      Ironic how easy it is to throw away other people’s money huh?




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