EQC hears about neurological disease, collaborative wilderness efforts, decommissioning energy facilities, wildlife location data

Other states dealing with a neurological disease that affects deer, elk, and moos shared experiences with the Environmental Quality Council at the January meeting in Helena.

Members of the bipartisan panel studying how Montana is handling chronic wasting disease heard from officials in Colorado and Wyoming as well as public health representatives from the federal Centers for Disease Control and the state Department of Public Health and Human Services.

The Council also discussed collaboration efforts on Wilderness Study Areas, which are areas managed by the U.S. Forest Service as wilderness pending congressional action.

The meeting featured presentations of the agricultural indicators assembled by staff and an update on bonding, decommissioning and remediation for energy facilities, as well as a demonstration of how wildlife can be tracked using geographic information system software.

The EQC lifted its objection to a Department of Environmental Quality proposal to increase subdivision fees used to pay for work to review plats and subdivisions and conduct inspections and enforcement activities after the department pledged to reduce the proposed increase.

All materials and links to presentations are on the EQC website: http://leg.mt.gov/eqc

Representatives on the council are Jim Keane, chair, D-Butte; Willis Curdy, D-Missoula; Steve Gunderson, R-Libby; Bradley Maxon Hamlett, D-Cascade; Theresa Manzella, R-Hamilton; and Kerry White, R-Bozeman. Senators are Mike Lang, vice chair, R-Malta; Pat Flowers, D-Bozeman; Steve Hinebauch, R-Wibaux; JP Pomnichowski, D-Bozeman; Carey Smith, R-Bozeman; and Gene Vuckovich, D-Anaconda. Public members are Scott Aspenlieder, Billings; John Brenden, Scobey; Rex Rogers, Boulder; and Matt Vincent, Butte.

The meeting was live streamed at http://leg.mt.gov and broadcast on the Montana Public Affairs Network (MPAN). Check local channel listings to find MPAN. 

For more information on the council's activities, visit the council's website or contact Joe Kolman, council staff: jkolman@mt.gov or 406-444-3747.

The Legislative News.