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

Small Business Environmental Assistance Program

Program Overview

The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP) is a separate non-regulatory program within the Department of Environmental Quality. The mission of the SBEAP is to assist Montana businesses in understanding and complying with environmental regulations and to go beyond the regulations to prevent pollution and improve environmental quality.* In addition, SBEAP also:

  • Advocates on behalf of small businesses
  • Assists with communication between your small business and DEQ
  • Offers permitting assistance
  • Provides workshops and trainings
  • Mails out informational and informative printings upon request

Assistance from the SBEAP is free, and imposes no obligation on Montana businesses.

*Business-specific information is held confidential from enforcement except in cases of imminent danger to human health and the environment. Small businesses are generally defined as independently owned and operated businesses with fewer than 100 employees that are not major sources of waste or emissions.

Contacts

Small Business Assistance

Small Business Ombudsman
John Podolinsky (406) 444-6592

SBEAP Toll-free hotline
800-433-8773

Environmental Compliance Assistance

Montana Business Relief Funding Availability 

A variety of relief funding is available to Montanans and businesses, starting May 7, 2020. All programs can be accessed by clicking on "Apply" at this website: COVIDRELIEF.MT.Gov Programs include the Montana Business Stabilization Program, Montana Innovation Grant Program, and the Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program.

Interesting Articles:

Reports:

  • Designed Case Study: Montana Breweries - Assistance Program
  • DEQ Enforcement Actions - Status Report
    • Do you have a spill or complaint to report to DEQ Enforcement? If so, click here for the electronic spill/complaint form. 

Publications:

Hot off the Press!!

Training Opportunities:

Helpful Tools:

  • The Montana Business Navigator is here to create an easy-to-use environment where Montana's businesses can find the requirements and tools they need to own and operate a business in Montana. For more information please click here. If you have questions regarding environmental regulations in Montana, please contact John Podolinsky of the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program at 800-433-8773.

Resources:

Air Information

Other Topic Specific Information

The Council’s duties are defined in 75-2-106 MCA. The necessity for the state to have a Small Business Compliance Assistance Advisory Council is required by the Federal Clean Air Act, 42 USC 7661f. The Council’s overall responsibilities are to provide input to DEQ regarding the needs of small businesses with respect to environmental regulatory compliance.

Council members:

  • Review and render advisory opinions on DEQ’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program
  • Ensure information affecting small businesses is written in a style that is clear and understandable
  • Serve as an information bridge between the small business community and DEQ

Annual Meeting Notes:

Energy, Efficiency, and the Environment


Building Envelope

  • DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse provides a good overview of why and how to set up an energy program.
  • EnergyStar programs are sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • EnergyIdeas - This site's Q and A on energy questions, on the Solutions page, is good for most topics.  Energy Ideas is sponsored by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) and the Washington State University Cooperative Extension Service Energy Program.
  • The Building Commissioning Association is a Pacific Northwest professional association. They don’t have many Montana members yet, but they can tell you about commissioning a building, a process that can tell you how efficiently or inefficiently your building is operating. HVAC systems can be out of balance, or energy controls out of adjustment, but these problems may not be obvious. Commissioning evaluates how well a building’s systems work together, then recommends improvements. Commissioning can reduce energy use, lower repair and replacement costs, and improve air quality, lighting and comfort.
  • Energy analysts, and anybody wanting to compare their usage to national figures, might be interested in the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.
  • News and information pertinent to facility operators and managers is available at FacilitiesNet .
  • Federal agencies can obtain technical and financial assistance from the Federal Energy Management Program. There is very useful information to all government agencies.
  • These sites offer information on performance contracting, one way to evaluate possibilities for energy improvements in buildings and to finance the ones that will save money:

Windows

Experts say that proper daylighting can improve employee performance, but improper window design can lead to higher energy bills in warm and cold climates. New window designs should weigh beneficial daylighting with heat control and heat loss. Here are some links to sites that help evaluate window design and energy efficient windows.


Appliances and Light Bulbs

Help on motors and compressed air systems is available from the US Department of Energy's site. These are good places to look for energy savings in large government and school buildings.

About


The E3 Project is a collaboration of both public and private assistance providers specializing in the areas of Energy Efficiency/Development, Process Efficiency, and Environmental Best Practices. Project partners include: 

  • DEQ Energy Bureau
  • Montana Resource Efficiency Program - National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)
  • Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC)
  • UnCommon Sense – Sustainable Business Practices (UCS)
  • Montana Pollution Prevention Program (MTP2)

Partners


DEQ’s Energy Bureau serves as Montana’s State Energy Office (SEO). The SEO provides leadership to maximize the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy through communications and outreach activities and technology deployment, and by providing access to new partnerships and resources. Specific programs applicable to the E3 Project include:

The Montana Resource Efficiency Program is a technical assistance program offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program offers an assistance hotline and website dedicated to energy-efficiency tools and information. Additionally, a limited number of Montana businesses, non-profits, and local governments are eligible to receive no-cost energy audits based on potential for energy savings. Targeted entities include:

  • Breweries & Distilleries
  • Retail & Convenience Stores
  • Lodging
  • Healthcare
  • Schools
  • Local Government
  • Manufacturing/Industrial
  • Other

To learn more about recent activities by the Montana Resource Efficiency Program, click here to view their 3rd quarter newsletter.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) works with Montana businesses to help them achieve business objectives, set priorities, allocate resources and get on the road to more success. Service assistance areas include Business Management, Facility Planning, Food Safety, Leadership, Innovation and Strategic Growth; LEAN Enterprise; Customer Focused Marketing and Business Development; and Quality Systems.

UnCommon Sense – Sustainable Business Practices (UCS) is a sustainability-focused program that equips businesses to make desired changes in their operations and empowers them to become sustainability leaders in their communities and industry sectors.

The Montana Pollution Prevention Program (MTP2) is dedicated to helping the state's small businesses and local governments use progressive, integrated pollution prevention (P2) strategies to increase productivity, while safe guarding the air, water, land and other natural resources. Their professional staff provides no-cost, non-regulatory technical assistance services to help businesses and government find cost effective ways to reduce, reuse and recycle resources in all areas of their operations. Additionally, MTP2 focuses on finding ways to conserve energy and water, and reduce the use of toxic chemicals.

Energy


Montana Resource Efficiency Program

The Montana Resource Efficiency Program is a technical assistance program offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program offers an assistance hotline and website dedicated to energy-efficiency tools and information. Additionally, a limited number of Montana businesses, non-profits, and local governments are eligible to receive no-cost energy audits based on potential for energy savings.

Energy Performance Contracting

Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) is an innovative financing technique that uses cost savings from reduced energy consumption to repay the cost of installing energy conservation measures. DEQ’s Energy Bureau is responsible for oversight for Montana Energy Performance Contracting Program.

Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program

The Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program (AERLP) provides a financing option to Montana homeowners, small businesses, non-profits and government entities to install alternative energy systems. Entities may borrow up to $40,000 for a finance period of up to ten years. The fixed rate for loans issued in 2017 is 3.25%.

SMART Schools

The SMART Schools Challenge is a friendly competition to help Montana's K-12 public schools Save Money and Resources Today (SMART). Schools across Montana compete to see who can save the most money and resources by conserving energy, recycling and implementing green practices that benefit student health.

Strategic Energy Management for Schools

Strategic Energy Management (SEM) is a long-term approach to energy efficiency that includes setting goals, tracking progress, and reporting results. A successful strategic energy management plan builds long-term relationships with energy users and targets persistent energy savings. Currently, DEQ’s Energy Bureau is organizing an SEM Cohort for Montana Schools where participants are eligible to receive a $20,000 sponsorship for energy efficiency technical services such as an energy audit or engineering design.

Efficiency


Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC)

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) works with Montana businesses to help them achieve business objectives, set priorities, allocate resources and get on the road to more success. Service assistance areas include:

  • Business Management
  • Facility Planning
  • Food Safety
  • Leadership
  • Innovation & Strategic Growth
  • LEAN Enterprise
  • Customer Focused Marketing & Business Development
  • Quality Systems

Montana Resource Efficiency Program

The Montana Resource Efficiency Program is a technical assistance program offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program offers an assistance hotline and website dedicated to energy-efficiency tools and information. Additionally, a limited number of Montana businesses, non-profits, and local governments are eligible to receive no-cost energy audits based on potential for energy savings.

Environment


Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP)

The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program is a separate non-regulatory program within the Department of Environmental Quality. The mission of the SBEAP is to assist Montana businesses in understanding and complying with environmental regulations and to go beyond the regulations to prevent pollution and improve environmental quality. In addition, SBEAP also:

  • Advocates on behalf of small businesses
  • Assists with communication between your small business and DEQ
  • Offers permitting assistance
  • Provides workshops and trainings
  • Mails out informational and informative printings upon request

UnCommon Sense - Sustainable Business Practices

UnCommon Sense (UCS) is a sustainability-focused program that equips businesses to make desired changes in their operations and empowers them to become sustainability leaders in their communities and industry sectors.

Montana Pollution Prevention Program (MTP2)

The Montana Pollution Prevention Program (MTP2) is dedicated to helping the state's small businesses and local governments use progressive, integrated pollution prevention (P2) strategies to increase productivity, while safe guarding the air, water, land and other natural resources. Their professional staff provides no-cost, non-regulatory technical assistance services to help businesses and government find cost effective ways to reduce, reuse and recycle resources in all areas of their operations. Additionally, MTP2 focuses on finding ways to conserve energy and water, and reduce the use of toxic chemicals.