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

Board of Environmental Review

Overview

In Chapter 418, Laws of 1995 (SB 234), the Legislature created the Department of Environmental Quality and the Board of Environmental Review, and gave each specific duties under various environmental regulatory statutes. Included in these pages is a listing of those statutes and a brief description of the Board's role and responsibilities under those statutes.

Board Meetings

Information about upcoming Board meetings will be shared on this page in advance of each meeting. The Board makes reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in meetings. Please contact the Board Secretary by email no later than 24 hours prior to a meeting to discuss the nature of the accommodation needed.

2021 Board Meeting Calendar

Next virtual meeting : August 13, 2021, 9:00 a.m.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://mt-gov.zoom.us/j/89723437484?pwd=aXhlM3hxUFk1M1NXOTZDSHZwdWh1Zz09

Meeting ID: 897 2343 7484
Password: 104378

Dial by Telephone
+1 646 558 8656 or +1 406 444 9999
Meeting ID: 897 2343 7484
Password: 104378

Contacts

Board Secretary
Regan Sidner (406) 444-2544

DEQ Main Phone Line
(406) 444-2544

Fax
(406) 444-4386

TTY
(406) 444-9526


Name & Location Term Ending Position Filled
Steven Ruffatto, Chair
Columbus, MT
1/1/2025 Attorney
David Lehnherr
Red Lodge, MT
1/1/2023 County Health Officer/ Medical Director
David Simpson
Billings, MT
1/1/2025 Environmental Scientist
Hillary Hanson
Kalispell, MT
1/1/2023 Public Representative
Jon Reiten
Billings, MT
1/1/2025 Hydrologist
Joseph Smith
Florence, MT
1/1/2025 Government Planning
Julia Altemus
Missoula, MT
1/1/2023 Public Representative

The documents from past Board meetings are maintained on DEQ's website for three years as a convenience to those who may be interested in past agendas. If you wish to review documents from more than three years prior, please contact the Board Secretary.


 

Meeting Date Agenda Agenda Packet Minutes Transcript Other
June 11, 2021 Agenda Meeting Materials Transcripts
April 23, 2021 Agenda SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS:
Minutes Transcripts Copper Ridge Oral Arguments
February 26, 2021 Agenda Agenda Packet Minutes Transcripts
December 11, 2020 Agenda Meeting Materials
Agenda Changes & Additions:
Minutes Transcripts
October 29, 2020 Agenda Meeting Materials Minutes Transcripts
September 24, 2020 Agenda Meeting Materials  
PRESENTATION -Establishing Selenium Standards for Lake Koocanusa and Kootenai River that Protect Aquatic Life
Minutes Transcripts November 5, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Virtual Public Hearing, Zoom Meeting Platform
August 7, 2020 Agenda Meeting Materials Minutes Transcripts
June 12, 2020 Agenda No Materials Minutes Transcripts
April 17, 2020 Agenda Meeting Materials Minutes Transcript
February 7, 2020 Agenda Meeting Materials Minutes Transcript
January 24, 2020 Agenda Meeting Materials   Transcript
December 13, 2019 Agenda Meeting Materials Minutes Transcript
October 4, 2019 Agenda Meeting Materials Minutes Transcript
August 9, 2019 Agenda

Meeting Materials

Additional Materials:

III.C.1. Copper Ridge and Reflections at Copper Ridge case materials

III.C.1. CR's Response to DEQ's Exceptions

III.C.1. Memo to the Board

Minutes Transcript
Copper Ridge
May 31, 2019 Agenda

Meeting Materials

Additional Materials:

III.B.2. Notice of Appeal

III.C.2. Western Energy

III.C.2. Notice of Opposition and Request to Contest Western Energy's Recusal Affidavit

Minutes

Transcript

WesternEnergy

May 22, 2019 Agenda

Emergency Motion for Expedited Relief

Brief in Support of Emergency Motion for Expedited Relief

DEQ's Brief Opposing Westmoreland's Emergency Motion for Expedited Relief

Ex. 1

Ex. 2

Ex. 3

Ex. 4 - Notice of Contest

Minutes

Transcript

Colstrip Units 3 and 4

April 12, 2019 Agenda Meeting Materials Minutes Transcript
February 8, 2019 Agenda Meeting Materials Minutes

Transcript

Copper Ridge and Reflections at Copper Ridge

December 7, 2018 Agenda

Additional Materials:

III.A.1. DEQ-7 Power Point Presentation

III.A.3. Lagoon Setback Power Point Presentation

III.B.1 BER 2015-01 DEQ's Response to Motion to Strike

III.B.1. BER 2015-02 DEQ's Response to Motion to Strike

Minutes

Transcript

Copper Ridge and Reflections at Copper Ridge

October 5, 2018 Agenda

Additional Materials:

III.C.1

Minutes Transcript

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company
August 10, 2018 Agenda Meeting Materials Minutes Transcript
June 8, 2018 Agenda

Meeting Materials

Additional Materials:

Signal Peak Summons

Minutes Transcript
April 6, 2018 Agenda

Meeting Materials

Additional Materials:

III.B.1. MCA 75-2-301

III.E.1. MCA 75-5-316

Minutes

Transcript

Oilfield

DEQ Programs with Board Authority

Air Quality

Rulemaking - The Board has authority and duty to adopt all rules to implement the Clean Air Act of Montana. Included in this authority are:

  1. procedural rules, such as reporting permitting and fee requirements;
  2. rules establishing substantive standards, such as ambient air quality standards, emission and levels; and
  3. enforcement rules establishing penalties for violations.

Orders - The Board has authority to issue orders necessary to implement the law. These include orders establishing state implementation plans (SIPs) for areas not in compliance with ambient air standards. Hearings - The Board has the authority and duty to hold hearings involving:

  1. appeals of preconstruction and operating permit decisions, fee determinations, and noncompliance orders;
  2. requests for variances from emission restrictions;
  3. approval of local air pollution control programs; and
  4. emergency orders.

Water Quality

Rules - The Board has authority to adopt:

  1. fee rules;
  2. substantive rules that:
    1. establish water quality standards;
    2. classify streams (stream classifications must be reviewed every three years);
    3. set requirements to prevent significant degradation of water; and
    4. set standards for treatment of wastes;
  3. rules establishing requirements for matching funds for construction of local water pollution control facilities;
  4. rules governing loans from the Wastewater Treatment Revolving Fund Act.

Hearings - The Board has authority to hear appeals of:

  1. Department permit decisions;
  2. Department decisions on requirements for authorization to degrade; and
  3. administrative orders issued by the Department as a result of violations of The Act.

Approval of Local Water Quality Control Program - A local water quality district may adopt a local water quality control program only with approval of the Board.


Public Water Supply / Public Sewage System

No public water supply or sewage system (generally defined as systems serving at least 15 families or 25 persons) may be constructed or altered without approval of the Department. The Board's functions are as follows:
Rulemaking - The Board adopts rules for

  1. procedural matters, such as record keeping reporting and fees;
  2. substantive requirements, such as drinking water standards, construction and siting requirements, and variances; and
  3. administrative penalties.

Orders - The Board may issue orders to implement the law. Hearings - The Board hears appeals of administrative orders issued by the Department.


Mined Land Reclamation

The Board's only function under the mined land reclamation laws is to adopt all rules. These include both procedural rules, rules imposing environmental protection and reclamation requirements, and enforcement rules. Before July 1, 1995, this function was exercised by the Board of Land Commissioners.


Major Facility Siting

This Act requires that persons who wish to construct certain electricity generator plants, transmission lines, pipelines, and coal gasification facilities, must obtain a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need before commencing construction of the facility. The Board's functions (which, before July 1, 1995, were exercised by the Board of Natural Resources) in this program are: Rulemaking - The Board has authority to adopt rules to implement the law. Issuance of Certificates - The Board has exclusive authority to grant or deny application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need and applications to amend a certificate. This includes authority to place conditions on the approval. Monitoring - The Board and the Department have the duty to monitor compliance with a certificate. Enforcement - Both the Board and the Department have authority to enforce the Act and provisions of certificates.


Megalandfill Siting

Siting Decisions - No megalandfill may be constructed unless a certificate of site acceptability is issued by the Board. Rulemaking - The Board has authority to adopt procedural and substantive rules for approval of applications for site acceptability certificates. Reclamation - The Board has authority to forfeit megalandfill boards and reclaim, restore, or replace natural resources damaged or impaired by the operation of a megalandfill.


Hazardous Waste

Rulemaking - The Board has no rulemaking authority. All rules are adopted by the Department. Variances - The Board has authority to consider requests for variances from the hazardous waste provisions of the Montana Hazardous Waste and Underground Storage Tank Act and rules adopted under the authority of that Act. Hearings - The Board has authority to conduct hearings:

  1. to review Department decisions to deny, revoke, or modify a hazardous waste management facility permit when requested by the permittee or permit applicant;
  2. to review Department administrative orders when requested by the person named in the order;
  3. regarding alleged violations of the hazardous waste laws with the Department requires the alleged violator to appear before the Board.

Solid Waste

Rulemaking - The Board has authority to adopt rules pertaining to solid waste management plans, local government grants, and local government loans. These rules were adopted in 1977 and amended in 1981. Note that no grant or loan monies have been available since the early 1980's. Solid Waste Management Plan - The Board has authority to approve and adopt the state solid waste management plan developed by the Department. Variances - The Board has authority to consider requests for variances from rules adopted under the authority of the Solid Waste Management Act. Appeals and Hearings - The Board has authority to:

  1. consider appeals of decisions by local health officers to not validate solid waste management system licenses;
  2. conduct hearings to review Department decisions to deny or revoke a solid waste management system license;
  3. conduct hearings to review Department administrative orders when requested by the person named in the order; and
  4. conduct hearings regarding alleged violations of the solid waste laws when the Department requires the alleged violator to appear before the Board.

Junk Vehicles

The Board's sole function in this program is to conduct hearings to review Department decisions to issue, deny, or revoke a motor vehicle wrecking facility license.


Underground Storage Tanks

There are three legislative acts pertaining to underground storage tanks. First, they are regulated under the hazardous waste laws (see above); second, persons who install, modify, or close underground storage tanks are required to be licensed by the Department; and third, the Department and the Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board administer a program to fund cleanups of releases from certain storage tanks, including underground storage tanks. The Board's sole function in the installer law is to hold hearings and review Department enforcement orders. The Board has no function in the release compensation program.


Radioactive Waste

Hearings - The Board has authority to hold hearings on:

  1. decisions of the Department to grant, suspend, revoke, or amend a license to use, manufacture, produce, or possess radioactive materials;
  2. granting of exceptions to rules regulating radioactive materials; and
  3. Department enforcement determinations.

 

Programs with no Board Authority

The following is a list of some of the environmental programs in which the Board has no statutory authority and the administering agency:

Program Administering Agency
Natural Streambed Preservation Conservation Districts/Dept. of Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Lakeshore Protection Local government
CERCLA (Federal Superfund) EPA/DEQ
CECRA (State Superfund) DEQ
Integrated Waste Management DEQ
Infectious Waste Management DEQ
Subdivisions Local governments/DEQ
Floodplain Management DNRC
Slash Disposal DNRC
Streamside Management Zone Regulation DNRC
Regulation of Herbicides and Pesticides Department of Agriculture

Many different laws allow a person to request a contested case hearing with the Board. A person’s right to appeal, or seek review of, a decision of the Department of Environmental Quality varies with the subject matter and the specific terms of the applicable statute. Pertinent statutes include the following:

Subject Matter Nature of Appeal Montana Code Annotated Reference

Water treatment plant operator

 To appeal DEQ's revocation of the certificate of a water treatment plant operator.

37-42-321

Air quality permits

To appeal approval or denial of DEQ's air quality permit for construction, installation, alteration, or use and appeal approval or denial DEQ's air quality opertating permit. 

75-2-211 and 75-2-218

Air quality enforcement actions

To appeal administrative enforcement action of DEQ's violation of air quality laws.

75-2-401

Degradation of high-quality waters

To Appeal DEQ's decision authorizing degradation of high-quality waters. 

75-5-303

Water quality permits

An application or holder of a water quality permit to appeal a denial or modification of water quality permit issued by DEQ. 

75-5-403

Asbestos Control Act enforcement actions

To appeal administrative enforcement action by DEQ.

75-2-515

Water quality enforcement actions

To appeal an order and or administrative penalty issued for violation of water quality laws by DEQ. 

75-5-611

Public water supply enforcement actions

To appeal administrative enforcement action by DEQ for violation of public water supply laws.

75-6-109

Solid waste management system licenses

To appeal denial or revocation of license to operate a solid waste management system issued by DEQ. 

75-10-224

Waste and litter control enforcement actions

To appeal DEQ administrative enforcement action for violation of waste and litter control laws. 

75-10-227

Hazardous waste management permits

To appeal denial or revocation of hazardous waste management permit issued by DEQ. 

75-10-406

Hazardous waste management enforcement

actions

To appeal administrative enforcement action by DEQ for violation of hazardous waste management laws. 

75-10-413

Motor vehicle wrecking facility licenses

To appeal decision by DEQ to issue, deny, or revoke a motor vehicle wrecking facility license. 

75-10-515

Motor vehicle recycling and disposal

enforcement actions

To appeal administrative enforcement action by DEQ for violation of motor vehicle recycling and disposal laws. 

75-10-540

Underground Storage Tank Act enforcement

actions

To appeal administrative enforcement action by DEQ. 

75-11-525

Subdivision sanitation notice of violations

To appeal notice of violation issued by DEQ for violation of sanitation in subdivision laws. 

76-4-108

Subdivision plans

To appeal the denial or approval of subdivision plans specifications relating to environmental health facilities issued by DEQ. 

76-4-126

Decisions involving the Strip and

Underground Mine Siting Act

To appeal orders to adopt remedial measures, suspending or revoking permits, or other final decisions by DEQ under the Strip and Underground Mine Siting Act. 

82-4-112, 82-4-129,82-4-130

Decisions involving the Strip and

Underground Mine Reclamation Act

To appeal orders to adopt remedial measures suspending or revoking permits, proposed administrative penalties, or other final decisions by DEQ under the Strip and Underground Mine reclamation Act. 

82-4-205,82-4-206, 82-4-254

Decisions involving the Metal Mine

Reclamation Act

To appeal modifications or refusals to modify relcamation plans, bond level adjustments, orders to abate conditions or to commence reclamation, denials of applications for permits and licenses and amendments or revisions to permits or licenses, administrative penalties, revocation of permits and licenses and forfeiture of performance bond by DEQ under Metal Mine Reclamation Act. 

82-4-33782-4-338, 82-4-341,

82-4-353, 82-4-361, 82-4-362

Decisions involving the Opencut Mining Act

To appeal final decisions and proposed civil penalties issued by DEQ under the Opencut Mining Act. 

82-4-427, 82-4-441

Board Policies & Procedures

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a person aggrieved by a decision of the Department of Environmental Quality seek relief?

Under Montana law, some, but not all, decisions of the Department of Environmental Quality can be administratively appealed to the Board of Environmental Review, which conducts a contested case proceeding.


What is a contested case?

A contested case is a proceeding before an agency (not a court) in which a determination of legal rights, duties, or privileges of a party is required by law to be made after an opportunity for hearing. Laws specifically pertaining to contested case procedures are in Montana Code Annotated, Title 2, chapter 4, part 6. The goal of the Board of Environmental Review is to provide fair and timely contested case hearings.


How does a person request a contested case hearing?

The process varies, depending on the statute that applies. Generally the request must be in writing and must be made within a time period specified in the applicable statute and must be made by a person adversely affected by the challenged decision. The person requesting the contested case hearing should read and comply with the applicable statute to ensure that the appeal is properly and timely filed.


What procedures apply to contested cases?

The Board of Environmental Review has adopted the Attorney General’s model procedural rules, which are published in the Administrative Rules of Montana. The specific rules for contested cases are 1.3.211 through 1.3.225. The general provisions, rules 1.3.230 through 1.3.233, also apply to contested cases.


Are contested case procedures similar to the procedures that apply in civil suits in Montana district courts?

Yes, the procedures are similar. Instead of a judge, a hearing examiner, who is a lawyer appointed by the Board of Environmental Review, regulates the course of contested case proceedings. Some of the Attorney General’s model rules incorporate the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure, which are in Title 25, chapter 20 of the Montana Code Annotated. For example, 1.3.217, which is Model Rule 13, generally follows the discovery rules that apply to civil suits, and 1.3.232, which is Model Rule 27, generally provides that all motions and pleadings will be served in accordance with the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure.


Besides the person requesting the hearing and the Department of Environmental Quality, who else may be a party in a contested case before the Board of Environmental Review?

In cases involving permitting decisions, in which the person requesting the hearing is not the permit applicant, the permit applicant will be notified of the request for hearing and may become a party (intervene) in the contested case by complying with the hearing examiner’s prehearing order. When the permit applicant timely complies with the hearing examiner’s order, a motion to intervene is not required. The hearing examiner’s order will usually contain a paragraph similar to the following example: A copy of this order is being provided to counsel for the permit applicant. No separate motion to intervene is required if the permit applicant complies with this order and proposes a schedule for further proceedings after consultation with the other parties. The permit applicant shall be considered to have intervened in these contested case proceedings by timely submitting a proposed schedule.


How long does the contested case process take?

The goal of the Board of Environmental Review is that hearings be held within 120 days of the request for hearing. Where the parties agree on a faster or slower schedule, the hearing examiner will normally approve their agreed schedule. If a party requests that the Board of Environmental Review hear the case, instead of a hearing examiner appointed by the Board, the time needed to bring the case to hearing may exceed 120 days.


How is a schedule for a contested case established?

After a hearing is requested, the Standing Interim Hearing Examiner issues a prehearing order that is mailed to the parties and, if a permit applicant is not a party, to the permit applicant. The order will give the parties about two weeks to consult with each other and propose an agreed schedule to the hearing examiner. If the parties are unable to agree on a schedule, the hearing examiner will set a schedule for the contested case.


Suppose that a hearing is requested on February 1 and the parties are not able to agree on a schedule by the February 15 deadline set in the hearing examiner’s prehearing order. What would a typical scheduling order provide?

Here is an example scheduling order, based upon the dates suggested in the question. The following schedule is set:

  1. No later than February 28: disclosure by each party to the other parties of: (a) the name and address of each individual likely to have discoverable information that the disclosing party may use to support its claims or defenses, and (b) a copy of, or a description by category and location of, all documents and tangible things that are in the possession, custody, or control of the disclosing party and that the disclosing party may use to support its claims or defenses.
  2. No later than March 7: joinder/intervention of additional parties.
  3. No later than April 14: completion of discovery. Discovery requests should be served at least 30 days prior to that date in order to allow sufficient time for responses to be filed by the date for completion of discovery.
  4. No later than April 22: submission of any motions and briefs in support.
  5. No later than May 7, 2002: sub mission of answer/response briefs.
  6. No latter than May 14: submission of reply briefs, exchange of lists of witnesses, and copies of documents that each party intends to offer at the hearing.
  7. May 22, at 9 a.m.: pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 2-4-611, a prehearing conference shall be held by telephone. The hearing examiner shall initiate the telephone conference. The purpose of the prehearing conference is to consider simplification of facts and issues by consent of the parties, hear argument on any outstanding motions, and confirm a schedule for further proceedings, including the date, time, and place of hearing.
  8. June 1, beginning at 9 a.m.: contested case hearing.
  9. If this schedule becomes unworkable for any party, that person should consult with the other party and propose a revised schedule upon which the parties agree.

May a party file documents with the hearing examiner by email or facsimile?

Yes. The Board follows the Attorney General’s model rules of procedure. Model Rule 27, which is Administrative Rule of Montana 1.3.232, generally provides that papers may be served in accordance with the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 5(e) of the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure allows the filing of papers by facsimile or other electronic means, provided that the original document is filed within five business days of the receipt of the facsimile or electronic copy.


How are papers filed with the Board?

By providing them to the Secretary, Board of Environmental Review, Department of Environmental Quality, Metcalf Building, 1520 East Sixth Avenue, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620-0901. The facsimile number is (406) 444-4386. The email address is: ber@mt.gov If papers are submitted by email, the preferred software is Microsoft Word 6.0, or later.