Speak Up for Clean Water
Throughout the 2019 legislative session we will analyze hundreds of bills to ensure proposed legislation protects clean water and does not harm the watershed. Our focus this session is defending Montana’s bedrock environmental laws–and we need your help!
Check this page regularly to stay informed on bills that matter, get updates on hot topics, and find opportunities to engage in the legislative process.
How to help:
Join the “Water Watchdog” Brigade: Can we count on you to contact legislators on behalf of healthy rivers? Travel to Helena to testify in-person at a key hearings? Be involved when important decisions are being made? We’ll call on Water Watchdogs throughout the session to be a strong voice for clean water when it’s needed most (coaching provided). To join, contact Katie Racette at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also sign up for our e-alerts and like our Facebook page to stay up-to-date.
Get in touch with legislators: Find contact information to lobby specific legislators here, or call 406-444-3062.
Let Governor Bullock know what you think: The Governor’s Office has final say over whether bills become law. Click here for contact info.
- Look up Bill Drafts: Check on a bill’s status and read the policy language first-hand.
- Read our 2019 Legislative Wrap-Up
- Check out our Legislative Bill Tracker:
|Bill Title||Summary||CFC Position||Public Action|
Revise laws related to aquatic invasive species programs
Sponsor: Willis Curdy (D)
|This bill would allocate funding for the state’s critically important AIS prevention program. Funding sources would include fees on resident and nonresident anglers, revenue from watercraft registrations, and extension of existing fees on hydroelectric facilities. The bill also establishes a permanent invasive species account removing the sunset from the 2017 legislation.||Support||Passed by Legislature|
Create stream guage oversight work group
Sponsor: Jon C Sesso (D)
|Would create a stream gauge oversight work group in MT that will make recommendations and report out to the Water Policy Interim Committee and the legislature, with the goal of keeping stream gauges funded. The $70,000 fiscal note will be used to pay a contractor to run the meetings and follow up on action items. A contracted position will also work to establish a long term funding framework for gauges. This is definitely a step in the right direction.||Support||Passed by Legislature|
Requiring mandatory contamination of certain vessels with ballasts/bladders
Sponsor: Joe Read (R)
|This bill provides an additional tool to address the risk of AIS transport. The bill specifically targets boats with ballasts/bladders, which often cannot be adequately inspected and dried.||Support||Passed by Legislature|
Resolution to reauthorize of surface mining control and reclamation act
Sponsor: Jon C Sesso (D)
|This resolution supports continued funding for the reclamation of abandoned mines before that funding expires Sept. 30, 2021. This funding comes from the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 which provides resources for Montana mine reclamation programs. There are 6,500 abandoned mines that would benefit from continued funding of this program.||Support||Passed by Legislature|
Revise variances to water quality standardsSponsor: Tom Richmond (R)
|This bill would establish a rulemaking process for setting water quality variances, and add criteria that allows for variances where current science-based water quality standards are currently difficult to meet. CFC and our partners have requested amendments to ensure that the Board of Environmental Review has authority over the rule making. If amended, CFC would not oppose the bill.||Not In Current Form||Passed by Legislature|
Revise FWP authority for instream flows
Sponsor: Jill Cohenour (D)
|Removes the June 2019 expiration date on FWP’s authority to change water rights they hold or lease to instream flow. This program is a vital tool used to restore dewatered streams. The bill would make the program permanent.||Support||Passed by Legislature|
Allow for transfer of hard rock mining permits
Sponsor: Steve Gunderson (R
|HB 722 addresses mining operations that have ceased and the reclamation bond has been forfeited to the State. The bill would allow the DEQ indefinitely suspend a mining permit to allow for a potential transfer to a new company, which may or may not take over mining operations. The bill would also allow DEQ to use reclamation bonds for things other than cleanup.||Oppose||On its way to the Governor’s desk.|