by Amy Seaman, Montana Audubon
The 67th Montana Legislature is setting up to be like no other. Major changes in the legislature’s make up make it hard to know what to expect. And Covid precautions will mean that our physical presence in the Capitol halls will be limited. But we are not backing down from the challenge. This summer gave us a crash course in running citizen science programs remotely and activating our organization’s voices will be no different. We are ready to research, organize, testify, and lobby, remotely or not, to defend Montana’s wildlife, wildlife habitat, and bedrock environmental laws. And fortunately we are bolstered this year by our new Conservation & Legislative Assistant, Carmen Borchelt, who joined us in December after a short, well-deserved, break following the completion of her term as our 2020 Big Sky Watershed Conservation Corps member.
Though there will likely be considerable reduction in federal pressure to reduce the powers of foundational laws like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Clean Water Act, we already know that a number of state-level challenges to our primary conservation issues are coming. Like challenges we saw in 2019, this includes efforts to halt the continuation of the Habitat Montana program (a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks habitat protection program), and challenges to the state Greater Sage-grouse conservation program, conservation easements, keeping public lands in public hands, and increasing clean energy and climate change solutions.
As always we will need your help to succeed with the important legislative work that lies ahead. During this legislative session we will again maintain an active “Action Alert Network” that will provide you with the information you need to make your voice heard when important issues come up!
To sign up for Network alerts visit www.mtaudubon.org.