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Montana Supreme Court overrules AG Fox in conservation easement case

Posted at 8:15 PM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 22:15:36-05

HELENA – The Montana Supreme Court overruled an opinion by Attorney General Tim Fox over the governor’s approval of conservation easements.

The case revolves around a 15,000-acre easement east of Glendive.

FWP negotiated the proposed easement.

It then went before the land board, who voted three-to-two delay action.

But Gov. Steve Bullock went forward with the agreement anyway, arguing conservation easements don’t need to be approved the land board because they are not a direct acquisition of land.

Senate President Scott Sales asked for a formal opinion on whether Bullock followed the law. Fox determined easements must go through the land board.

However, the Montana Supreme Court disagreed and overturned the attorney general’s opinion.

Related: Montana Supreme Court hears arguments in Bullock-Fox dispute over approving conservation easements