Archive for March 20th, 2009

by jhwygirl

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by jhwygirl

Rep. Ed Butcher’s HB418 had its second reading on the Senate floor yesterday, but not without impassioned debate. In the end, the vote was 27-23 with a small handful of legislators crossing the aisle – including Sen. Gary L. Perry (R), who has sponsored a number of good environmental bills this session; and Sen. Rick Liable (R), of Darby. Both voted NO.

Democrats Sen. Ken “Kim” Hansen and Sen. Sharon Stewart-Peregoy crossed the aisle to vote YES for this environmental disaster.

Missoula’s Senator David Wanzenried spoke forcefully in debate against the bill:

Several Democrats, however, said HB418 grants “special favors” to plant developers and questioned why they need such protections to do business.

“The business model doesn’t work,” said Sen. Dave Wanzenried, D-Missoula. “If it did work, they wouldn’t be here asking for this. Who’s going to be in here next asking for a special deal?”

Missoula’s senators all voted against the bill.

Overwhelmingly, the opposition testimony to this bill focused on the “free pass” on environmental review being given to the horse slaughter business. A “free pass” which is an affront to Montana citizens guarantee to a clean and healthful environment.

For those of you unfamiliar with the history of the Montana Environmental Protection Act, the Button Valley Bugle had a great post about a week ago detailing not only some of the current assaults against it, but a history of how Montana came to enact MEPA

Today sets up the final vote, after which – and it does look like it’s heading that way – the bill will head to Governor Schweiter’s desk for signature.

The question now – that many are asking – is will the Governor sign a bill (any of these bills) that assault MEPA and ignore our constitutional rights to a clean and healthful environment? Bills that have little chance of survival in a court challenge – a court challenge that will cost Montana taxpayers a whole hell of a lot of cash – and I’m talking costs from both sides of the litigation.

Politics, Peaks, and Valleys has an especially scathing post regarding that subject. I highly recommend that, too, for reading.

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