Montana Administrative Register Notice 8-101-146 No. 14   07/22/2016    
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Department of COMMERCE



In the matter of the amendment of ARM 8.101.203 and 8.101.302 pertaining to the Montana Coal Board and applications for Montana Coal Board grant assistance







TO: All Concerned Persons


1. On June 3, 2016, the Department of Commerce published MAR Notice No. 8-101-146 pertaining to the public hearing on the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules at page 935 of the 2016 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 11.


2. The department has amended the above-stated rules as proposed.


3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received. A summary of the comments received and the department's responses are as follows:


COMMENT #1: Is there a provision in the environmental requirements for any categorical exemptions? Such as a minimal amount of work being done, minor repairs, the percentage of an addition to a building?


RESPONSE #1: Yes, Administrative Rule of Montana 8.2.328 provides a list of actions that qualify for a categorical exclusion. The list includes projects that will be partially funded or permitted by another state or federal agency that has primary responsibility to consider the environmental impacts of the project under MEPA or the National Environmental Policy Act; planning studies, scientific research and analysis, surveys, or engineering activities; projects primarily involving the acquisition of capital equipment; projects that involve only minor repairs or rehabilitation to an existing facility; projects where the footprint of the proposed structures, pipelines, or other infrastructure would be substantially unchanged from existing conditions, and there is no increase in the population served by the facility; and emergency repairs, reconstruction, restoration, retrofitting, or replacement of an existing facility that is in operation or under construction when damaged. Please see ARM 8.2.328 for a full list, description, and conditions of activities funded by the Coal Board under the new rule that may be considered categorically excluded from MEPA review.


COMMENT #2Please clarify if the entire environmental review has to be completed and submitted with the application.


RESPONSE #2All necessary environmental review of the proposed project must be completed prior to submission of the application for grant funding. The process for completing environmental review is explained in detail beginning on page 27 of the 2017 Biennium Coal Board Impact Grant Application. Board staff is available to assist applicants through the process and answer any questions about the process. Any application received without documentation that the public and the applicant have considered the potential environmental impacts of the project may be rejected by the department.


/s/ Kelly A. Lynch                                  /s/ Douglas Mitchell                                 

KELLY A. LYNCH                                  DOUGLAS MITCHELL

Rule Reviewer                                       Deputy Director

                                                              Department of Commerce


Certified to the Secretary of State July 11, 2016.

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