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Groups call on state regulators to add climate change into the decision-making process

More than 40 interest groups and Montana businesses are petitioning the state’s utility regulators to consider climate change when making decisions. They filed the request Wednesday.

Environmental organizations, breweries, ski resorts, college students, doctors and more filed the petition. The groups are asking Montana’s Public Service Commission to measure the social costs of greenhouse gas and climate impacts as part of their regulatory work.

Michael Hudson, with one of the environmental groups, says the agency has a large role to play in Montana’s emissions as the regulators of companies that use coal and other fossil fuels to generate power.

"It is just common sense that they consider climate in their decisions," Hudson says.

Under state law, the public can petition any state agency with a request to adopt new rules or change existing ones.

A lawyer for the PSC said they are reviewing the petition but have no comment at this time.

This petition comes as the Montana Supreme Court is considering the extent to which the state Constitution’s “clean and healthful environment” applies to climate change.

The PSC now has 60 days to consider whether it will deny the petition or begin the rulemaking process.

Copyright 2024 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Ellis Juhlin