The legislation, signed into law last week, is even more restrictive than North Carolina’s infamous 2012 law that prohibited policymakers from considering sea-level rise projections.

by Kristoffer Tigue, Inside Climate News

Montana Republican lawmakers have passed legislation that bars state agencies from considering climate change when permitting large projects that require environmental reviews, including coal mines and power plants. Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill last week, marking what could be considered the nation’s most aggressive anti-climate law.

Under House Bill 971, Amanda Eggert reports for the Montana Free Press, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and other state regulators can’t consider greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts when conducting environmental reviews for large projects. The move builds off a decade-old state law that already banned the state from considering “actual or potential impacts that are regional, national, or global in nature” in such reviews.

Scenic view of a petroleum oil well on a farm field in montana, usa

The law comes as a Montana judge weighs a case brought by 16 youth plaintiffs who are suing the state government for its pro-fossil fuel energy policies, which they argue violates their right to a “clean and healthful environment” as guaranteed by Montana’s 50-year-old constitution. The hearing for that case is set to begin next month.

Proponents of Montana’s new law, including its sponsor, Rep. Josh Kassmier, argued the legislation was necessary to restore authority over setting policy to state lawmakers after a district judge revoked a permit back in April for a proposed natural gas power plant that state regulators had already approved.

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