(1) A continuing departmental program for public participation
shall contain mechanisms of activity for each of the elements listed in this
sub-chapter. The exact mechanisms of activity may vary in relation to
RESOURCES available, public response, the nature of issues involved.
(2) Each division of the
department shall provide continuing policy, program, and technical information
at the earliest practical times and at places easily accessible to interested
or affected persons and organizations so that they can make informed and
constructive contributions to department decision making. News releases and
other publications may be used for this purpose as well as informational
discussions and meetings with interested citizens' groups. Efforts shall be
made to summarize complex technical materials for public and media use.
(3) Each division shall
have a procedure for providing technical and informational assistance to public
groups for citizen education, committee workshop training, dissemination of
information to concerned groups and individuals. Requests for information shall
be promptly handled.
(4) Each division of the
department shall have a procedure for early consultation and exchange of views
with interested or affected persons and organizations on development or
revision of plans, programs, or other significant activity prior to decision
making. Advisory groups, ad hoc committees or workshop meetings may serve this
(5) Field demonstrations and public field trips may be used when there is
sufficient public interest concerning programs administered by the department.
division shall maintain a current list of interested persons and organizations
including any who have requested inclusion on such list, for the distribution
of information such as that listed in subsection (2) (1) (a) of this rule. The
department shall, in addition, notify any interested persons of any public
hearing or other decision making proceedings prior to decision making and
wherever possible shall supplement this notification with informal notice to
all interested persons or groups having requested such notice in advance. The
notice provisions of this subsection shall be deemed to have been complied with
(a) an environmental impact statement or preliminary environmental review is prepared
and distributed in accordance with the Montana Environmental Policy Act, and
the rules adopted pursuant thereto;
(b) a proceeding is held as required by the Montana Administrative Procedure Act;
(c) a public hearing, after appropriate notice is given, is held pursuant to agency
discretion, any other provision of state law, or local ordinance or resolution;
(d) a newspaper of general circulation within the area to be affected by a decision
of significant interest to the public has carried a news story, notice or
advertisement concerning the decision prior to a final decision on a matter.
(7) The department files, other than personnel files and those files required by law or
requirements of individual privacy to remain confidential, are open to public
inspection. These files are located at the department office in Helena. Copies
of specific documents are available either free or for a reasonable copying
(8) When the department determines that a proposed decision or action is of significant
interest to the public, one person shall be designated as contact person with
the public on the proposed decision or action. This person should be a
departmental employee familiar with the proposed decision or action.
(9) The listing of specific measures in this section shall not preclude additional
techniques for obtaining, encouraging or assisting public participation.