Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 5. Montana Underground Storage Tank Act

Administrative Enforcement

75-11-512. Administrative enforcement. (1) When the department believes that a violation of this part or a rule adopted under this part has occurred, it may serve written notice of the violation personally or by certified mail on the alleged violator or the violator's agent. The notice must specify the provision of this part or the rule alleged to be violated and the facts alleged to constitute a violation and may include an order to take necessary corrective action within a reasonable period of time stated in the order. The order becomes final unless, within 30 days after the notice is served, the person named requests, in writing, a hearing before the board. On receipt of the request, the board shall schedule a hearing. Service by mail is complete on the date of receipt.

(2) If, after a hearing held under subsection (1), the board finds that a violation has occurred, it shall either affirm or modify the department's order. An order issued by the department or by the board may prescribe the date by which the violation must cease and may prescribe time limits for particular action. If, after hearing, the board finds that a violation has not occurred, it shall rescind the department's order.

(3) In addition to or instead of issuing an order pursuant to subsection (1), the department may:

(a) require the alleged violator to appear before the board or department, by subpoena or subpoena duces tecum, for a hearing at a time and place specified in the notice to answer the charges complained of or to provide information regarding the alleged violation or its actual or potential impact on the public health and welfare or the environment;

(b) initiate action under 75-11-513, 75-11-514, or 75-11-516; or

(c) assess administrative penalties and issue corrective action orders under 75-11-525.

(4) In the case of disobedience of any subpoena issued and served under this section or of the refusal of any witness to testify as to any material matter with regard to which the witness may be interrogated in a hearing or investigation before the board or the department, the board or department may apply to any district court in the state for an order to compel compliance with the subpoena or the giving of testimony. The court shall hear the matter as expeditiously as possible. If the disobedience or refusal is found to be unjustified, the court shall enter an order requiring compliance. Disobedience of the order is punishable by contempt of court in the same manner and by the same procedures as is provided for like conduct committed in the course of civil actions in district court.

(5) If a person fails to comply with an order issued pursuant to subsection (1) or (3) within the time allowed in the order, the department may enter the property on which the underground storage tank that is in violation is located and temporarily close the tank. If the department finds that permanent closure is necessary to prevent substantial environmental harm or because the owner or operator is unlikely to comply with the order, it may permanently close the tank.

(6) This section does not prevent the board or department from making efforts to obtain voluntary compliance through warning, conference, or any other appropriate means.

History: En. Sec. 8, Ch. 112, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 14, Ch. 506, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 51, L. 2007.