HELENA – The Montana Supreme Court overruled an opinion by Attorney General Tim Fox over the governor’s approval of conservation easements.
The case revolves around a 15,000-acre easement east of Glendive. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks negotiated the proposed easement which then went before the State Land Board, which voted 3-to-2 to delay action.
But Gov. Steve Bullock went forward with the agreement anyway, arguing conservation easements don’t need to be approved the land board because they are not a direct acquisition of land.
Senate President Scott Sales asked for a formal opinion on whether Gov. Bullock followed the law. Fox determined easements must go through the land board.
However, the Montana Supreme Court disagreed and overturned the attorney general’s opinion.