Montana Department of Environmental Quality About Us Permitting & Operator Assistance Public Participation

Water Quality | Notice of Public Hearing on Proposed Amendment of ARM 17.30.1304 and Adoption of New Rule I | Comment Period Closes February 8, 2022

  • December 23 2021

Rulemaking Background: In 2021 the 67th Montana Legislature enacted Senate Bill 358 (codified at 75-5-321, MCA).  Senate Bill 358 requires the department to adopt rules related to narrative nutrient standards in consultation with the advisory nutrient work group.  Nutrients, in this context, refer to total phosphorus and total nitrogen concentrations in state surface waters.  The rules are required to provide for the development of an adaptive management program which allows for an incremental watershed approach for protecting and maintaining water quality. The department convened the nutrient work group in May 2021 and held meetings approximately bimonthly through the end of October 2021 to adopt a comprehensive rule package related to narrative nutrient standards. Despite a concerted effort by the department and the nutrient work group to develop a comprehensive rule package, there remains a substantial amount of work needed for the department to fully address the concerns of multiple parties. Rather than immediately move forward with a comprehensive rule package, the department has opted to adopt New Rule I, which establishes the basic elements of an adaptive management program per Senate Bill 358.  Proposed New Rule I provides a framework for the department to follow as it continues to meet and consult with the nutrient work group and work toward completion of the comprehensive rule package, to be adopted later in 2022.

Opportunity to Comment:  On February 8, 2022, at 2:00 p.m., the department will hold a public hearing in Room 111 of the Metcalf Building, 1520 East Sixth Avenue, Helena, Montana, to consider the proposed amendments and adoption of the New Rule I.  The department is committed to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and promoting the health and wellness of others.  Members of the public may participate either in-person or virtually.  For in-person meetings, while face masks are not required, meeting attendees are welcome to wear masks.  If you are not feeling well, please do not attend the in-person meeting.  Information how to attend remotely, including the Zoom link, is included in the MAR Notice.  

Associated Materials:

You are invited to submit data, views, or arguments, either orally or in writing, at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to Loryn Johnson, Paralegal, Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, Montana 59620-0901; faxed to (406) 444-4386; or e­ mailed to no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 8, 2022. To be guaranteed consideration, mailed comments must be postmarked on or before that date. 

Tags: Public Comment, Water and Public Meeting

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