(1) After receipt of the applicant's estimated cost of the project and analysis of an agency's preliminary estimate of the cost of acquiring information and data for the EIS, the agency shall notify the applicant within 15 days of the final amount of the fee to be assessed. The fee assessed must be based on the projected cost of acquiring all of the information and data needed for the EIS. If the applicant has gathered or is in the process of gathering information and data that can be used in the EIS, the agency shall only use that portion of the fee that is needed to verify the information and data. Any unused portion of the fee assessed may be returned to the applicant within a reasonable time after the information and data have been collected or the information and data submitted by the applicant have been verified, but in no event later than the deadline specified in these rules. The agency may extend the 15-day period provided for review of the applicant's submittal but not to exceed 45 days if it believes that the project cost estimate submitted is inaccurate or additional information must be obtained to verify the accuracy of the project cost estimate. The fee assessed must not exceed the limitations provided in 75-1-203(2) , MCA.

(2) If an applicant believes that the fee assessed is excessive or does not conform to the requirements of this rule or Title 75, chapter 1, part 2, MCA, the applicant may request a hearing pursuant to the contested case provisions of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act. If a hearing is held on the fee assessed as authorized by this subsection, the agency shall proceed with its analysis of the project wherever possible. The fact that a hearing has been requested is not grounds for delaying consideration of an application except to the extent that the portion of the fee in question affects the ability of the department to collect the data and information necessary for the EIS.

History: 75-1-202, MCA; IMP, 75-1-202, 75-1-203, 75-1-205, 75-1-206, and 75-1-207, MCA; NEW, 1989 MAR p. 228, Eff. 12/23/88.