Archive for Energy

Apr
13

VETOed by the Brand

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Today, Governor Brian Schweitzer was true to his word when he said he would take his VETO branding irons to bills that are unconstitutional, frivolous or in direct contradiction to the expressed will of Montana voters.

In a ceremony on the north steps of the Capitol, the Governor was joined by more than 100 onlookers as he took the brands to 7 bills.

The bills the got the brand were:

  • SB114: Which initially would have put sheriffs in charge of federal law enforcement officers, but now had been amended to where it was pointless and would do nothing but clutter our law books
  • HB318: Would put county commissioners in charge of bison management, rather than FWP as it currently is
  • SB109: Would kills jobs in the state and roll back our progress towards renewable energy
  • HB272: Would make it more difficult for the public to acquire land for hunting, fishing and recreating
  • SB159: Would make it harder for homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient
  • HB180: Would eliminate election day voter registration
  • SB306: Would overturn two voter approved laws that restricted cyanide leach open-pit mining and thus would severely damage our rivers, lakes and streams

In addition to these bills, the Governor also held a more traditional veto signing in his office. Here he vetoed the following bills: HB456HB464SB111SB228SB324SB370SB324SB370SB254HB161SB183 and HB542

After Democrats in Congress narrowly averted a federal government shutdown that was pushed by GOP lawmakers pursuing their social agenda, it appears Montana Republicans are looking to shutdown the state government.

This afternoon, Governor Brian Schweitzer sent a letter to Attorney General Steve Bullock asking him to take initial steps to prepare for the event that Republicans in the legislature do not produce a responsible budget, to fund state services and the government is forced to shutdown.

In the letter, the Governor says:

The prospect of a shutdown raises large-scale questions which I hope you will address for me. What employees, for example, can be retained at the State Prisons or the State Hospital at Warm Springs or Pine Hill School for Boys, or our state National Guard? Can we keep all highway patrol officers on duty? Are there powers unique to these circumstances that I may exercise to soften the financial losses to the state that will result from the closer of “non-essential” services services such as state parks, museums, the lottery, state liquor stores and drivers license stations? Are there any extraordinary steps I may take to prepare the thousands of state workers who will be furloughed from “non-essential” programs?

If the government is shutdown because of the GOP’s irresponsible budget, Montana’s economy will be dramatically hurt.

Read the full letter from the Governor HERE

The GOP must have forgotten that today is St. Patrick’s Day, a day where people are encouraged to sport green, or risk being pinched. They chose today to push many of their extremist policies that would be devastating to our beautiful environment in Montana.

On the Senate floor, Sen. Chas Vincent’s bill that would essentially demolish the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) was given initial approval. This bill would gut environmental protections that have helped to maintain our quality environment for years. If this bill becomes law, it would be much harder for Montanans to hold polluters accountable for the damage they do.

The Senate Energy and Telecommunications committee heard two bills that would hurt Montana land, water and air. The first, seeks to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of the ability to impact greenhouse gas emissions. This policy was put in place after Republican obstruction in the federal government  prohibited meaningful environmental protections to be passed.

The second bill would rollback the clean air act and mercury rules. If these extremist Republicans successfully pass this law, corporate polluters would be free to release 700 pounds of mercury into our air. This would not only hurt our environment, but would have huge negative impacts on the health of all Montanans.

Finally, the Senate Judiciary committee heard Rep. Kennedy’s bill that seeks a constitutional referendum amending our right to a clean and healthful environment. Kennedy seeks to forever alter our state constitution by stating that our environment must be economically productive. This would not only be devastating for our environment, it would likely cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal challenges to the bill.

With all of these anti-green bills the Republicans must have received a lot of pinches today from Montanans.

Categories : Energy, Judiciary
Feb
21

For The Love Of Montana

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Today, Montanans from across the state descended on the Capitol to talk about the importance of a clean environment. Superintendent Denise Juneau joined them to talk about the impacts of these GOP choices.

For nearly 45 days, we’ve watched the GOP attempt to gut longstanding environmental protections in the state. We’ve also witnessed as they have introduced legislation that seeks to kill jobs in the renewable energy section. These decisions would be devastating to our rivers, lakes, streams and economy.

They have:

This is only a few of the proposals they have pursued (or opposed). Rather than focusing on creating jobs and making Montana a better place to live, they followed an agenda that does neither, in fact it would kill jobs and ruin our hunting, fishing and recreating areas.

The Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee today heard Senator Kendall Van Dyk’s bill that would increase the amount of energy that power companies must produce from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. Currently, these companies must get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015. If this bill is signed into law, these companies would be required to produce 25 percent of there power from these sources by 2025.

This bill serves two purposes. First, it will help to maintain a clean environment in Montana, this will let Montanans keep the beautiful state they’ve come to enjoy and will help our tourism industry continue to thrive. It will also bring new jobs and businesses to the state.The initial standards for renewal energy in the state was passed in 2005. After its passage, more than 600 jobs were created across the state. These jobs served to boost the economies of Montana’s rural communities.

Sen. Van Dyk’s bill will also lead to lower costs for consumers. Under these standards, energy production companies will be able to purchase less foreign sources of energy. Instead, they’ll be able to rely more on wind and the sun. Which we have plenty of here in Montana.

This is the type of legislation that Montanans want to see from lawmakers. It has a proven track record of success. It creates jobs. It maintains the environmental quality of the state. And it does all of this, without costing the taxpayers money.

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