For immediate release
May 27, 2015
Contact: Joe Kolman, Legislative Environmental Analyst, 406-444-3747
Legislative Environmental Quality Council to Set Priorities
A legislative council that deals with environmental issues will set its priorities for the interim between legislative sessions at a meeting June 3-4 in Helena.
The Legislative Environmental Quality Council (EQC) is a bipartisan committee that gathers information, studies specific issues, and has some oversight of executive branch agencies that deal with environmental matters.
The panel was assigned one study resolution passed by the 2015 Legislature. House Joint Resolution No. 13, sponsored by Rep. Kerry White, R-Bozeman, is a study of road access on federal lands. The EQC is tasked with assessing road closures on federal lands over the last 35 years, identifying landlocked parcels of public land, and evaluating deer and elk trends in relation to limited access to federal lands.
The Council also has a full slate of duties required by law, including oversight the departments of Environmental Quality, Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and Natural Resources and Conservation.
The EQC will elect its presiding and vice-presiding officers at its June meeting.
Representatives assigned to the EQC this interim are Jerry Bennett, R-Libby; Willis Curdy-D-Missoula; Janet Ellis, D-Helena; Ed Lieser, D-Whitefish; Theresa Manzella, R-Hamilton; and White.
Senate members are John Brenden, R-Scobey; Jim Keane, D-Butte; Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman; Rick Ripley, R-Wolf Creek; Cary Smith, R-Billings; and Gene Vuckovich, D-Anaconda.
The EQC has four public members including Scott Aspenlieder, Billings; Brooke Erb, Dillon; Bert Lindler, Missoula; and Roy Morris, Butte. Tim Baker, a representative of the governor, is a non-voting member.
Other items on the June agenda include updates on the 2014 fire season, wolf management, implementation of the Sage Grouse Stewardship Act, proposed fishing regulations, and the closure of petroleum tank release sites.
The EQC meeting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on June 3 in Room 172 of the Capitol. A full agenda and meeting materials are available on the EQC's website at www.leg.mt.gov/eqc.