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Montana Wilderness Ass'n v. Montana Bd. of Health & Envtl. Sciences

Citation: 7 ELR 20170
No. No. 13179, 559 P.2d 1157/171 Mont. 477, (Mont., 12/30/1976) Vacated on reh'g

On rehearing, the court vacates its previous ruling that defendant state agency's approval of a proposed subdivision must be enjoined for failure to comply with the requirements of the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). An examination of the 1967 Subdivision Sanitation Act and the 1973 Subdivision and Platting Act indicates that MEPA did not extend defendant's control over subdivisions beyond matters of water supply, sewage, and solid waste disposal. The earlier decision's implicit conclusion that MEPA required defendant to consider additional factors in making its approval was therefore erroneous. The two subdivision statutes indicate a strong legislative policy that, except for water supply, sewage and waste disposal considerations, subdivision planning is to be controlled by local authorities, to whom MEPA does not apply.

A dissent argues that the majority's decision emasculates MEPA and ignores the legal issues considered in the earlier decision. A second dissent objects to the majority's failure to rule on plaintiff's standing.

For the court's earlier opinion, here vacated, see 6 ELR 20695.

Counsel for Plaintiff-Appellee
James H. Goetz
Goetz & Madden
P.O. Box 1322
Bozeman MT 59715
(406) 587-0618

Counsel for Defendants-Appellants
A. Michael Salvagni
G. Steven Brown
Montana Department of Health and Environmental Sciences
1424 Ninth Ave.
Helena MT 59601
(406) 449-2630

Counsel for Intervenor-Appellant Beaver Creek South, Inc.
William P. Conklin
Dzivi, Conklin, Johnson & Nybo
529 Northwest Bank Bldg.
Great Falls MT 59401
(406) 453-5441

Counsel for Amicus Curiae Montana Department of Community Affairs
Richard M. Weddle
Capitol Station
Helena MT 50601
(406) 449-3757

Counsel for Amicus Curiae League of Women Voters of Montana
Donald R. Marble
P.O. Box 649
Chester MT 59522
(406) 759-5105

Counsel for Amicus Curiae Montana Home Builders Association
Joe Gerbese
Anderson, Symmes, Forbes, Peete & Brown
100 Transwestern Bldg.
Billings MT 59101
(406) 248-2611

Counsel for Amicus Curiae Montana Environmental Quality Council
Steven J. Perlmutter
Capitol Station
Helena MT 59601
(406) 449-3747

Joined by Martin & Harrison, JJ.; Haswell, J., dissents with opinion; Daly, J., dissents.