Senate Bill No. 72
Introduced By mesaros, cocchiarella, orr, grosfield, doherty, knox, ryan, brooke
By Request of the Environmental Quality Council
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act formalizing the operation of the water information system within the Natural Resource Information System at the State Library; and amending sections 85-2-105, 85-2-112, and 90-15-303, MCA."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 85-2-105, MCA, is amended to read:
"85-2-105. Environmental quality council -- water policy duties. (1) The environmental quality council shall meet as often as necessary, including during the interim between sessions, to perform the duties specified within this section.
(2) On a continuing basis, the environmental quality council shall:
(a) advise the legislature on the adequacy of the state's water policy and on important state, regional, national, and international developments that affect Montana's water resources;
(b) oversee the policies and activities of the department, other state executive agencies, and other state institutions as those policies and activities affect the water resources of the state; and
(c) communicate with the public on matters of water policy as well as the water resources of the state.
(3) On a regular basis, the environmental quality council shall:
(a) analyze and comment on the state water plan required by 85-1-203, when filed by the department;
(b) analyze and comment on the report of the status of the state's renewable resource grant and loan program required by 85-1-621, when filed by the department;
(c) analyze and comment on water-related research undertaken by any state agency, institution, college, or university;
(d) analyze, verify, and comment on the adequacy of and information contained in the water
resources data management
information system maintained by the department natural resource information system under 85-2-112 [section 3]; and
(e) report to the legislature as provided in 5-11-210.
(4) The legislative services division shall provide staff assistance to the environmental quality council to carry out its water policy duties."
Section 2. Section 85-2-112, MCA, is amended to read:
"85-2-112. Department duties. The department shall:
(1) enforce and administer this chapter and rules adopted under 85-2-113, subject to the powers and duties of the supreme court under 3-7-204;
(2) prescribe procedures, forms, and requirements for applications, permits, certificates, claims of existing rights, and proceedings under this chapter and prescribe the information to be contained in any application, claim of existing right, or other document to be filed with the department under this chapter not inconsistent with the requirements of this chapter;
(3) establish and keep in its Helena office a centralized record system of all existing rights and a public record of permits, certificates, claims of existing rights, applications, and other documents filed in its office under this chapter;
(4) in cooperation with other state agencies, institutions, colleges, and universities, establish and maintain a centralized and
efficient water resources data management system sufficient to make available and readily accessible, in a usable format, to
state agencies and other interested persons, information on the state's water resources, out-of-state water resources that
affect the state, existing and potential uses, and existing and potential demand. All other state agencies, institutions, and
colleges and universities shall cooperate with the department in the development and maintenance of this system. (5)(4) cooperate with, assist, advise, and coordinate plans and activities with the federal, state, and local agencies in
matters relating to this chapter; (6)(5) upon request by any person, cooperate with, assist, and advise that person in matters pertaining to measuring water
or filing claims of existing rights with a district court under this chapter; (7)(6) adopt rules necessary to reject, modify, or condition permit applications in highly appropriated basins or subbasins
as provided in 85-2-319."
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Water information system. (1) There is a Montana water information system, to be operated within the natural resource information system referred to in 90-15-301 and that is to be considered a part of the system.
(2) The Montana water information system shall make available and readily accessible, in a usable format, to state agencies and other interested persons, information on the state's water resources, out-of-state water resources that affect the state, existing and potential uses, and the existing and potential demand.
Section 4. Section 90-15-303, MCA, is amended to read:
"90-15-303. Interagency cooperation. (1) State agencies shall cooperate with the library and the committee in the planning of the natural resource information system.
(2) Within the limits of available resources, state agencies shall provide data requested by the library for purposes of the natural resource information system and the Montana natural heritage program. If an agency does not possess requested data or is unable to locate requested data, the agency shall inform the library. It is not necessary for an agency to conduct fieldwork or literature searches to obtain requested data."
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Codification instruction. [Section 3] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 90, chapter 15, part 3, and the provisions of Title 90, chapter 15, part 3, apply to [section 3].