Feb 17, 2011 1:21 PM by Marnee Banks (KXLH Helena)
HELENA - Republicans call it a job creator while critics claim its a confusing mess. State Senator Chas Vincent (R-Libby), is carrying a bill which dramatically revises the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA).
He says the changes make it harder for lawsuits to be brought under MEPA thus making project development easier in Montana. But, some environmental groups say that Vincent has taken out pages of code with no rhyme or reason.
"The venture capitalists essential to developing our natural resources are needing more regulatory certainty and predictability to consider Montana over some of our neighboring states. Unfortunately our current legal and regulatory environment encourages a lawsuit to obstruct rather than a permit to build," Vincent explained.
"If we want to develop jobs MEPA is not the problem. MEPA is not standing in the way. I challenge anyone here to tell me of one MEPA case in recent years or maybe even in the last decade that stopped a project. It doesn't happen," countered Anne Hedges with the Montana Environmental Center.
Vincent says that loosening the regulations will help spur job growth while environmental groups say the bill was poorly drafted and leaves more questions than answers.
Learn more about the existing MEAP by clicking here.