Attorney General Issues Opinion on Conservation Easement

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says the governor "unilaterally ignored" the law

By Associated Press

BILLINGS – Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says the governor “unilaterally ignored” the law when he approved a conservation easement without approval from the state Land Board.

The Billings Gazette reports the attorney general’s opinion states the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks must get approval from the board to purchase conservation easements of more than 100 acres (40 hectares) or $100,000.

Republican state Senate President Scott Sales had requested the opinion after Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock had allowed the state to purchase a $6.1 million conservation easement on an eastern Montana ranch. Three of the five Land Board members voted in February to indefinitely delay action on the easement.

Bullock had argued an easement is not a land acquisition and was properly approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission.

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