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Vision for Montana State Legislature

Montanans have a constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment -- our strongest asset for economic development is its clean water. The Legislature must strengthen and enforce state water quality laws by introducing legislation for restoration of water quality standards to levels in place prior to the 1995 Montana Legislature which passed laws significantly reducing water quality standards in a belief that these were holding back jobs. As a result Montana now has the lowest water quality standards in the West and the lowest wages of most of the country as well!

We can have well paying jobs and clean water. The State Department of Environmental Quality must be required to enforce and monitor compliance of water quality standards, and the State Board of Environmental Review must be required to interpret the law to keep Montana’s waters clean, which means “no further pollution of our waters.”

The laws passed by the 1995 Legislature:

1. weakened the arsenic risk level standard by a factor of 1,000 in Montana’s waters;

2. weakened Montana clean water laws to be reactive when they should be protective and preventative;

3. weakened discharge laws by allowing untreated groundwater discharges into surface water without a permit;

4. weakened State water law to allow further pollution of marginal waters and of much of the groundwater in Eastern Montana to accommodate mining;

5. limited citizens’ participation in efforts to retain clean water, when DEQ is considering discharge permits or activities that would threaten water quality.

To retain a minimum flow in important fisheries we must pass the “Emergency Streamflow For Fisheries Bill.” ~

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