Montana owns more than 5.1 million acres of school trust lands that are managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) to generate revenue for the schools, parts of the University System, and other endowed institutions. Conservation and protection of the natural resources on Montana school trust lands are important components of the school trust responsibilities, tied not simply to short-term considerations but to long-term productivity.
In addition to logging, mining, and grazing, the Montana school trust lands are also available for special uses such as: commercial, industrial, and residential development; wildlife habitat; preservation of open space; and development of public facilities.
MEIC has been working to influence the Montana DNRC’s Habitat Conservation Plan, a plan that guides the management and development of our state forests for the next 50 years.
When the State Land Board leased Montana’s share of the 1.3 billion tons of coal in the Otter Creek drainage, it failed miserably in weighing the environmental and economic consequences of the lease or to consider any alternatives that might be more beneficial to the State.