Bill would change how invasive species prevention is funded
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Environmental Quality Council is proposing legislation that would drop hydroelectric power fees as a funding source for aquatic invasive species prevention program.
Instead, the proposed bill would shift the cost of the $6.5 million state program to boaters, anglers and Montana’s general fund.
The Missoulian reports the Environmental Quality Council voted Thursday to send the bill to the state Legislature to consider in the 2019 session.
The original 2017 law funded the public information campaign and boat inspection stations through a combination of fees on hydroelectric facilities and utilities and on fishing licenses.
Under the proposed changes, all boaters would have to buy “prevention passes” and anglers would still have to pay their fees. Payments from the general fund would make up the difference between that revenue and the $6.5 million cost.