Archive for January 25th, 2010

by jhwygirl

Highlighting the value of top-notch legislators, this past legislative session saw the passage of HB678, which revised gravel pit/opencut mining laws in a way that is getting some pretty good reviews in this Great Falls Tribune story.

Under a new public notice requirement included in House Bill 678, which was approved in 2009, gravel and sand mine operators have to put up signs near proposed sites and send basic descriptions of their plans to county commissioners. Letters also must go out to property owners living within a half mile of a project.

The public notice requirement was one of several provisions included in the bill to improve accountability, oversight and efficiency in the state’s regulation of open-cut mine permits, which was found lacking by a legislative audit in 2008, and challenged in lawsuits.

Who sponsored this bill? Rep. JP Pomnichowski, of Bozeman.

Pomnichowski sponsored a number of bills this past session, seeing seven make it for final passage. A number of the bills that didn’t make it were absorbed into other bills.

That is no small feat.

I’m a fan of JP. She’s strong and consistent on natural resource issues. Water issues? She is one of the best. Pomichowski’s shown that she’s able to balance industry concerns, property rights and issues brought forth from citizens and communities. Gravel pits were a growing concern statewide since the 2007 session – and to the Bozeman area (in particular). Passage of HB678 was a significant accomplishment that has benefited people in communities throughout Montana. Not only that, it has helped move along the backlog of permits that the industry was not happy with.

Good legislators deserve good support. I want to note that Pomnichowski’s seat was won by just 230 votes in 2008. Bozeman can be a tough area for Democrats. This is not a seat that should be tossed. A $10 donation to her campaign just may help ensure that we have her around next legislative session.

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