By Amanda Eggert
Montana Free Press 

Governor Gianforte signs MEPA bill into law

SB 557's sponsor and opponents say the bill will 'probably' incite lawsuits


Bill Campbell, Aerial Services EcoFlight

An aerial view of Chico Hot Springs near the base of Emigrant Peak. In 2020, the Park County Environmental Council and others stopped a gold mine proposed for Emigrant Gulch.

Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed a bill that makes significant changes to the Montana Environmental Policy Act, a law that's used in legal challenges to mines, timber sales and power plants.

On May 19, Gianforte signed Senate Bill 557, which changes how individuals and nonprofits can use MEPA to challenge a state permit. Proponents of the measure say it will level the playing field and ensure that groups challenging natural resource and industrial projects first establish "legitimacy." Opponents say it will turn MEPA into a paper exercise lacking consequences and institute a "pay-to-play" sit...

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