Montana Administrative Register Notice 14-3 No. 23   12/10/2015    
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In the matter of the adoption of New Rules I and II pertaining to implementation of the Sage Grouse Stewardship Act








To: All Concerned Persons


          1. The Governor's Office will hold three public hearings at the following dates and times to consider the proposed adoption of the above-stated rules:


3:00 p.m. on January 6, 2016, First State Bank, 1 S 1st Street East, Malta, Montana 59538;


2:00 p.m. on January 7, 2016, Ambulance Barn, 704 1st Street East, Roundup, Montana 59072; and


6:30 p.m. on January 11, 2016, in Dillon, Bureau of Land Management office,1005 Selway Drive, Dillon, Montana 59725.


          2. The Governor's Office will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the Governor's Office no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 30, 2015, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Carolyn Sime, Sage Grouse Resource Program Manager, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, P.O. Box 201601, Helena, MT 59620-1601; telephone (406) 444-0554; fax (406) 444-6721; or e-mail csime2@mt.gov.


3. The rules as proposed to be adopted provide as follows:


NEW RULE I  DEFINITIONS  Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, to aid in the implementation of the Montana Greater Sage-Grouse Stewardship Act and as used in these rules:

(1) "Agency" for the purposes of the act means a department, agency, or instrumentality of the state of Montana; a political subdivision of the state; or a tribe. "Agency" is not a private individual, private entity, or private organization recognized by the laws of the state of Montana.

(2) "Department" means the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

(3) "Invasive weed" means a grass, forb, shrub, or tree (weed) listed on the Montana Invasive and Noxious Weed list or other weed designated by MSGOT as invasive and which has: a known quantifiable negative impact on the quality or quantity of general, core or connectivity sage grouse habitat; or negatively impacts sage grouse populations other than through habitat impacts.

(4) "MSGOT" means the Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team.

(5) "Organization" means a private entity registered with the Montana Secretary of State authorized to conduct business in the state of Montana.


AUTH: 76-22-104, MCA

IMP: 76-22-105, 76-22-109, 76-22-110, 76-22-112, 76-22-118, MCA


NEW RULE II  GRANTS  (1) An applicant shall file an application for a grant under Title 76, chapter 22, part 1, MCA, on a form approved by MSGOT. MSGOT shall publish grant application deadlines on the department's web site.

(2) Completed applications must be submitted with any supporting documentation through the online WebGrant tool on the department web page; or, by other means which MSGOT approves and establishes for submission of applications. Applications submitted by e-mail will not be accepted.

(3) Incomplete applications may be returned.

(4) Applications shall be evaluated at a regularly scheduled meeting of MSGOT.

(5) Evaluation of applications by MSGOT shall be in accordance with Title 76, chapter 22, part 1, MCA.

(6) Applicants for projects approved by MSGOT must enter into an agreement with the department and MSGOT prior to disbursement of funds from the Sage Grouse Stewardship Account.

(7) Grant recipients will be subject to project reporting requirements pursuant to the terms of the agreement.

(8) Monitoring and review of projects will be pursuant to the terms of the agreement.


AUTH: 76-22-104, MCA

IMP: 76-22-105, 76-22-109, 76-22-110, 76-22-112, 76-22-118, MCA


REASONABLE NECESSITY: This rule is reasonably necessary for MSGOT to comply with the requirements of SB 261 (Session Laws of Montana 2015, Chapter No. 445, Section 2, codified at 76-22-101, et seq. MCA) which requires MSGOT to: "…adopt rules to administer the provisions of this part, including ... eligibility and evaluation criteria for grants distributed pursuant to 76-22-110 [MCA] ... [and] review and monitoring of projects funded pursuant to this part..." This rule partially implements the requirements of that bill.


          4. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to: Carolyn Sime, Sage Grouse Resource Program Manager, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, P.O. Box 201601, Helena, MT 59620-1601; telephone (406) 444-0554; fax (406) 444-6721; or e-mail csime2@mt.gov, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., January 22, 2016.


5. Carolyn Sime, Sage Grouse Resource Program Manager, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, has been designated to preside over and conduct these hearings.


6. The Governor's Office maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency. Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name, e-mail, and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies for which program the person wishes to receive notices. Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request. Such written request may be mailed or delivered to Tim Baker, P.O. Box 200801,1301 East Sixth Avenue, Helena, MT 59620; fax (406) 444-4151; e-mail tbaker@mt.gov; or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the Governor's Office.


7. An electronic copy of this proposal notice is available through the Secretary of State's web site at http://sos.mt.gov/ARM/Register.  The Secretary of State strives to make the electronic copy of the notice conform to the official version of the notice, as printed in the Montana Administrative Register, but advises all concerned persons that in the event of a discrepancy between the official printed text of the notice and the electronic version of the notice, only the official printed text will be considered.  In addition, although the Secretary of State works to keep its web site accessible at all times, concerned persons should be aware that the web site may be unavailable during some periods, due to system maintenance or technical problems.


8. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, apply and have been fulfilled. The primary bill sponsor was contacted by e-mail on November 10, 2015.


9. With regard to the requirements of 2-4-111, MCA, the Governor's Office has determined that the adoption of the above-referenced rules will not significantly and directly impact small businesses.



/s/ Andrew I. Huff                                 /s/ Tim Baker                                      

Andrew I. Huff                                     Tim Baker

Rule Reviewer                                     Governor's Office

                                                          State of Montana


Certified to the Secretary of State November 30, 2015. 

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