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Notice of DNRC Public Reform Meetings


Posted Date: 
May 14, 2012
Contact: 
Millie Heffner, Chief, Water Rights Bureau, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (Department) is beginning to explore potential ways to streamline our permitting and change application processes and reduce costs to applicants.  It is important to note that, while we are proposing ways to make the application process simpler, the Department will still ensure that the criteria under 85-2-311 and 85-2-402, MCA are met before issuing a permit or change in appropriation right.  These criteria include that new appropriations or changes to existing water rights will not adversely affect existing water rights.

We want to discuss the Department’s working-draft proposal with interested persons.  The Department will be holding three public meetings before anything is proposed through the formal Administrative Rule process.  The meetings will be held as shown below.

City Location Address Date Time
Helena Fish, Wildlife & Parks Bldg Commission Rooms 1420 E. 6th Ave. Tuesday, June 5, 2012 1 p.m.
Kalispell Fish, Wildlife & Parks Bldg Conference Rm 490 N. Meridian Rd. Monday, June 18, 2012 1 p.m.
Billings Fish, Wildlife & Parks Bldg Conference Rm 2300 Lake Elmo Dr. Thursday, June 21, 2012 1 p.m.

To facilitate our upcoming discussions, I am attaching a conceptual draft of the rules, draft flow charts, and draft forms that the Department has been working on as part of proposed reforms.   The two flowcharts that are attached are designed to help explain how the new process would work.

The proposed reforms would take place under existing statutes, but some will require administrative rule changes in order to take effect.  These meetings are not part of the formal rulemaking process, but are intended to seek initial feedback and input from a wide variety of stakeholders prior to making any formal rule proposal. 

  • Potential specific changes to both the new appropriation and change application forms include:
  • Making the forms simpler, shorter, and clearer;
  • Creating addendums for different types of applications rather than having one large application for all types of changes and one large application for all types of new appropriation permits;
  • Eliminating vague, unnecessary, and potentially confusing application questions;
  • Not asking applicants to duplicate information that the Department already has or that it can and already does prepare for applications; and
  • Creating an incentive for applicants to attend pre-application meetings with staff.

We are looking forward to getting your feedback and questions.  Please give me a call if you have any questions prior to the meetings.

Attachments:

Millie Heffner | 406-444-0581 | mheffner@mt.gov