Major Facility Siting Program

Current Projects

Colstrip Steam Electric Station
The Department of Environmental Quality is engaged in an enforcement action against PPL Montana over groundwater contamination caused by leaking ash ponds at the Colstrip Steam Electric Station.  The steps both DEQ and PPL (now Talen Energy) must take to address these problems are outlined in the Administrative Order on Consent, which both parties agreed to in 2012.  

Cover Letter
Application to Amend Certificate (Dry Disposal Technology at Colstrip Units 3 & 4)
Amendment Approval

Montanore Transmission Line

Transmission Lines


Approved Projects

Keystone Page - On March 30, 2012 DEQ issued a Certificate of Compliance for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project.  Current amendments and recent water quality applications may be accessed on the page.
Montana Alberta Tie 230 kV Transmission Line - Construction completed February 2013.
Bonneville Power Administration - Libby/Troy Rebuild - Has been completed. 
Western Area Power Administration - Havre/Rainbow Rebuild Final Conclusions and Determination of Substantive Compliance with Montana Major Facility Siting Act.

Regulated Activities

A certificate of compliance may be required from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for certain major pipelines and electric transmission lines.  Exploration for geothermal resources is also regulated. Associated facilities such as transportation links, pump stations and other facilities associated with the delivery of energy are included. Federally owned or controlled facilities must satisfy the substantive criteria of the Major Facility Siting Act (MFSA).  There are special procedures that apply for facilities subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  A person who proposes to construct an energy-related project that is not defined as a facility under MFSA may petition DEQ to review the project under MFSA.

The legislature found that the construction of additional lines, pipelines, and geothermal facilities may be necessary to meet the increasing need for electricity, energy, and other products; that it is necessary to ensure that the location, construction, and operation of covered facilities are in compliance with state law; and that a covered facility may not be constructed or operated within Montana without a certificate of compliance acquired pursuant to MFSA.  The legislature also found the purposes of MFSA are to:  ensure the protection of the state's environmental resources; ensure the consideration of socioeconomic impacts; provide citizens with an opportunity to participate in facility siting decisions; and establish a coordinated and efficient method for the processing of all authorizations required for regulated facilities.

Timelines for review are indicated in figure 1.

In general, electrical transmission lines greater than 69 kV may be covered under MFSA if they meet certain criteria. Electrical transmission lines of 230 kV or more and 10 miles or more in length are covered under MFSA unless certain criteria are met. Pipelines greater than 25 inches in inside diameter that are at least 50 miles long may be covered under MFSA if they meet certain criteria. Nuclear energy conversion facilities also are regulated under MFSA.