5th Judicial District Judge Tells DEQ that County/City Governments Must be Consulted

by jhwygirl

In a ruling handed down in the 5th District, out of Dillon Montana, Judge Loren Tucker told Montana Department of Environmental Quality that its environmental review (EIS, environmental impact statement) must consult with local government. Both the Helena IR and Butte’s KXLF have the story.

Jefferson County had sued DEQ over placement of the MSTI utility line, saying that they had not been consulted and the public process left them with insufficient time to adequately review the proposal.

Does any of this sound familiar? The Kearl transport proposal to move oversized Korean-built tar sands oil infrastructure along the wild and scenic designated Lochsa River corridor and up and over the historic Lolo Pass, location of the ancient Nez Pierce Nimi’ipuu Trail and the he historic site of Lewis & Clark’s famous trip across the wild west.

Alll to take the stuff to Canada to poison the lands and the native peoples there.

Over at Left in the West, Turner has written two find posts on the MSTI project – one explaining the issue, asking for help and another pointing out the hypocrisy and lies being put forth by state officials (like Governor Schweitzer) on the true purpose and the true impacts and the real job creation of the project.

MDOT left little time for the public to comment on the environmental analysis (EA) that was completed by Exxon (yep – the applicant did the environmental analysis)….and during that short 30 days, the state’s ability to obtain comments via email failed. Many people – including the Missoula County Commissioners – requested that the comment period be lengthened to allow for full review of the proposal (a fully printed version of the document was over 3 inches thick).

At this point, MDOT is far overdue in releasing its decision on the permit (having promised it August 15th). Idaho residents have sued in court to stop the transport, and Missoula County Commissioners have hinted at the same.

Let’s hope some city and county officials have taken notice of this recent 5th District ruling and find out the specifics of the case to determine how it may impact their position on the proposal.

Will DEQ appeal? Doubtful. They’ll go back to attempt to work with the county and avoid an appeal at all costs. A further adverse ruling would require them to implement its findings state-wide, and clearly, you can bet DEQ doesn’t want to see that happen.

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  1. SeenClearly

    The Idahoans filed suit, and have prevailed thus far, over the 4 humongous Conoco/Phillips shipments. C/P has appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court; ISP scheduled it for October 1st.

  2. carfreestupidity

    The “explaining the issues, asking for help” link is broken

  3. Turner

    Thanks for calling attention to this issue. For us, the issue isn’t really the siting of MSTI. It’s the project itself. We (I mean, the Keep It Rural people in Beaverhead County) don’t think there’s a demonstrated need for it.

    If it’s approved, it’ll be a huge money-maker for NorthWestern Energy and a permanent blight on our part of the state.

    Environmentalists have been lied to by Schweitzer. This is not a “green” project. NWE claimed that it would be a wind-energy line while trying to get federal stimulus money for the project. When they were turned down (they missed a filing deadline) they admitted that it’ll be just another coal-energy line.

  4. Big Swede

    “Alll to take the stuff to Canada to poison the lands and the native peoples there.”

    Says it all, right there.




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