Public Comment at DEQ

Welcome to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality's Public Comment Gateway site.

An important part of DEQ’s mission is public involvement. Many of the programs listed below accept comment from the public on permitting or licensing of activities that affect the environment. A number of our waste management and remediation responsibilities also have an important public comment component.

DEQ accepts Public Comment in a variety of ways, depending on the program and specific laws and rules that govern the programs. We accept written comments mailed to the DEQ offices at the Metcalf Building in Helena. Comments are also accepted via email directed to a specific program. Comment may also be received at Public Hearings, in writing and sometimes as recorded oral comment.

Increasingly, we accept comments submitted through dedicated websites tailored to the submission and processing of public comments. Examples of this include the main DEQ Public Comment site. Another would be the Clean Water Act Information Center comment site.

These sites allow users to access detailed information about the topic under consideration, enter comments, and attach supporting material via a single web application. Any DEQ program expecting a large volume of comments may use the DEQ Public Comment Application from time to time and citizens are encouraged to check the site for open periods.

DEQ regularly holds Public Meetings for many of its programs and comments are sometimes accepted and recorded at these events. We also regularly purchase and post Legal/Public Notices, which may entail an opportunity for the public to provide comment. In a similar fashion, DEQ regularly performs Environmental Assessments that may entail public comment. The department will collect public comment on Environmental Impact Statements as well, although these are less common than EAs.


The following is a list of major programs at DEQ with a brief description of how we accept public comment, followed by a link to the programs’ public comment as applicable. Please be advised that DEQ will not respond to comments that are threatening, defamatory, libelous, slanderous, or discriminatory in nature.

Air

Air programs accept public comment primarily via hard copy submissions and by email to a specific staff person. Go to Active Air Permits under Public Comment Review.

Land

Hard Rock Mining: 

The Hard Rock Mining Bureau solicits comments on proposed actions including operating permit and exploration license applications and bond releases during statutorily defined comment periods. Comments are directed to specific staff personnel.

The Coal Program solicits comments on proposed actions including operating permits, permit amendments and bond releases during statutorily defined comment periods. Comments are directed to the Main DEQ Public Comment Site.

Opencut: This program regularly solicits public comment on gravel mining operations. Surface landowners in one-half mile proximity to a proposed opencut are notified by the applicant of a planned operation and given an opportunity to comment. The Opencut Permitting Program has a Searchable Website where open applications and comment periods are posted. The Program also accepts comments by email at: DEQOpencut@mt.gov

Waste Management: This program encompasses Hazardous Waste, Junk Vehicle Facilities, and Solid Waste Facilities. Usually public comment will entail Environmental Assessments for facilities or for land applications.

Remediation Programs include a variety of programs including Federal Superfund, State Superfund, underground storage tanks, and groundwater remediation that may solicit comments on documents or proposed actions. Comments are generally requested in writing via hard copy submissions or by email to a specific staff person. In some instances, verbal comments at a public hearing may also be accepted. The public notice identifying the public comment period will include details on how to comment.

Water

Most commonly, Environmental Assessments for Water Quality Discharge Permits will come open for public comment. These comments are typically accepted by mail to our main DEQ offices or by email to: DEQWPBPublicComments@mt.gov  Also, check Water Quality Notices, which encompasses legal notices and public hearings, if requested.

Public comment on Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) may occasionally come open for comment and will be accepted by mail or by email at the above address.

Occasionally our Water Quality Program issues Total Maximum Daily Load studies for streams and other water bodies and the Draft TMDL Documents will come open for public comment, usually in conjunction with an area public meeting.