Action: Tell DEQ It Must Consider Climate Impacts

Attend a public listening session in Helena, Missoula, or online

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently announce a comment period and listening sessions on updating the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), a critical component of environmental permitting and public participation in Montana. 

MEPA, also known as the “look before you leap” law, affords the public the opportunity to comment on the environmental, fish and wildlife, economic, social, and cultural impacts of proposed projects before their approval. Any changes to MEPA must assure that it still fulfills the government’s obligation to maintain and improve the public’s constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment and constitutional right to know and participate. 

Unfortunately, DEQ is using this public comment opportunity to delay their responsibility to analyze climate change impacts, as was made clear in the Montana District court ruling in Held v. Montana in August, where the judge ordered DEQ to consider climate impacts and deny permits to protect the public from environmental harm. DEQ has the tools, knowledge, and ability to analyze climate change impacts now and further stall tactics are not only in violation of the recent court ruling but also put our waterways, communities, and local businesses that depend on a clean and healthful environment at risk. 

We encourage you to attend one of DEQ’s listening sessions and let DEQ know they must start analyzing climate impacts immediately, including its impacts on our fishable, swimmable, drinkable water resources and uphold Montanans’ constitutional right to know, participate, and a clean and healthful environment.

Listening Sessions:
  • Helena – Oct. 18, 6-8pm, Delta Colonial Hotel (2301 Colonial Dr) and online
  • Missoula – Oct. 19, 6-8pm, Broadway Inn and Conference Center (1609 W Broadway) and online
  • Online Only – Nov. 1, 3-5pm
Please note that you must pre-register for online sessions. Click here for more details and to pre-register now.
Here are some talking points to consider when making public comments:
  • Climate change must be robustly considered in the MEPA process, and DEQ has the tools they need to analyze the climate impacts of proposed projects now.
  • DEQ should use the science and economic analyses that have already been developed to do this analysis. The federal social cost of greenhouse gases is a readily available tool.
  • Any change to MEPA must stand up to, and conform with, constitutional requirements. MEPA needs to be strengthened, not weakened, and public disclosure and participation opportunities must be maintained. 
DEQ is also accepting public comments through an online portal until December 1st. Stand up for a strong, science-based MEPA that considers climate impacts now.