75-20-104. Definitions. In this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Addition thereto" means the installation of new machinery and equipment that would significantly change the conditions under which the facility is operated.
(2) "Application" means an application for a certificate submitted in accordance with this chapter and the rules adopted under this chapter.
(3) (a) "Associated facilities" includes but is not limited to transportation links of any kind, aqueducts, diversion dams, pipelines, storage ponds, reservoirs, and any other device or equipment associated with the delivery of the energy form or product produced by a facility.
(b) The term does not include a transmission substation, a switchyard, voltage support, or other control equipment or a facility or a natural gas or crude oil gathering line 25 inches or less in inside diameter.
(4) "Board" means the board of environmental review provided for in 2-15-3502.
(5) "Certificate" means the certificate of compliance issued by the department under this chapter that is required for the construction or operation of a facility.
(6) "Commence to construct" means:
(a) any clearing of land, excavation, construction, or other action that would affect the environment of the site or route of a facility but does not mean changes needed for temporary use of sites or routes for nonutility purposes or uses in securing geological data, including necessary borings to ascertain foundation conditions;
(b) the fracturing of underground formations by any means if the activity is related to the possible future development of a gasification facility or a facility employing geothermal resources but does not include the gathering of geological data by boring of test holes or other underground exploration, investigation, or experimentation;
(c) the commencement of eminent domain proceedings under Title 70, chapter 30, for land or rights-of-way upon or over which a facility may be constructed;
(d) the relocation or upgrading of an existing facility defined by subsection (10)(a) or (10)(b), including upgrading to a design capacity covered by subsection (10)(a), except that the term does not include normal maintenance or repair of an existing facility.
(7) (a) "Commencement of acquisition of right-of-way" means the actual, defined legal transfer of property.
(b) The term does not mean preliminary discussions, option agreements that are not within 60 days of commencement of acquisition, letters of intent, or other documents that do not conclusively result in the legal transfer of property.
(8) "Department" means the department of environmental quality provided for in 2-15-3501.
(9) (a) "Electrical generation facility" means any combination of a physically connected generator or generators, associated prime movers, and other associated property, including appurtenant land and improvements and personal property, that are normally operated together to produce 20 average megawatts or more of electric power. The term is limited to generating facilities that produce electricity from coal-fired steam turbines, oil or gas turbines, or turbine generators driven by falling water.
(b) The term does not include:
(i) electrical generation facilities used for noncommercial purposes or exclusively for agricultural purposes; or
(ii) a qualifying small power production facility, as defined in 16 U.S.C. 796(17), that is owned and operated by a person not primarily engaged in the generation or sale of electricity other than electric power from a small power production facility that is classified under 15-6-134 and 15-6-138.
(10) "Facility" means:
(a) each electric transmission line and associated facilities of a design capacity of more than 69 kilovolts, except that the term:
(i) does not include an electric transmission line and associated facilities of a design capacity of 230 kilovolts or less and 10 miles or less in length;
(ii) does not include an electric transmission line with a design capacity of more than 69 kilovolts for which the person planning to construct the line has obtained right-of-way agreements or options for a right-of-way from more than 75% of the owners who collectively own more than 75% of the property along the centerline;
(iii) does not include electric transmission lines that are collectively less than 150 miles in length and are required under state or federal regulations and laws, with respect to reliability of service, for an electrical generation facility, for a wind generation facility, biomass generation facility, or energy storage facility, as defined in 15-6-157, or for a green hydrogen facility or green hydrogen storage system, as defined in 15-6-163, to interconnect to a regional transmission grid or secure firm transmission service to use the grid for which the person planning to construct the line or lines has obtained right-of-way agreements or options for a right-of-way from more than 75% of the owners who collectively own more than 75% of the property along the centerline or centerlines;
(iv) does not include an upgrade to an existing transmission line of a design capacity of 50 kilovolts or more to increase that line's capacity, including construction outside the existing easement or right-of-way. Except for a newly acquired easement or right-of-way necessary to comply with electromagnetic field standards, a newly acquired easement or right-of-way outside the existing easement or right-of-way as described in this subsection (10)(a)(iv) may not exceed a total of 10 miles in length or be more than 10% of the existing transmission right-of-way, whichever is greater, and the purpose of the easement must be to avoid sensitive areas or inhabited areas or conform to state or federal safety, reliability, and operational standards designed to safeguard the transmission network and protect electrical workers and the public.
(v) does not include a transmission substation, a switchyard, voltage support, or other control equipment;
(vi) does not include an energy storage facility, as defined in 15-6-157;
(vii) does not include a green hydrogen facility or green hydrogen storage system, as defined in 15-6-163;
(b) (i) each pipeline, whether partially or wholly within the state, greater than 25 inches in inside diameter and 50 miles in length, and associated facilities, except that the term does not include:
(A) a pipeline within the boundaries of the state that is used exclusively for the irrigation of agricultural crops or for drinking water;
(B) a pipeline greater than 25 inches in inside diameter and 50 miles in length for which the person planning to construct the pipeline has obtained right-of-way agreements or options for a right-of-way from more than 75% of the owners who collectively own more than 75% of the property along the centerline; or
(C) a green hydrogen pipeline, as defined in 15-6-163;
(ii) each pipeline, whether partially or wholly within the state, greater than 17 inches in inside diameter and 30 miles in length, and associated facilities used to transport coal suspended in water;
(c) any use of geothermal resources, including the use of underground space in existence or to be created, for the creation, use, or conversion of energy, designed for or capable of producing geothermally derived power equivalent to 50 megawatts or more or any addition thereto, except pollution control facilities approved by the department and added to an existing plant, except that the term does not include a compressed air energy storage facility, as defined in 15-6-157, or a green hydrogen facility or green hydrogen storage system, as defined in 15-6-163; or
(d) for the purposes of 75-20-204 only, a plant, unit, or other facility capable of generating 50 megawatts of hydroelectric power or more or any addition thereto.
(11) "Person" means any individual, group, firm, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, cooperative, association, government subdivision, government agency, local government, or other organization or entity.
(12) "Sensitive areas" means government-designated areas that have been recognized for their importance to Montana's wildlife, wilderness, culture, and historic heritage, including but not limited to national wildlife refuges, state wildlife management areas, federal areas of critical environmental concern, state parks and historic sites, designated wilderness areas, wilderness study areas, designated wild and scenic rivers, or national parks, monuments, or historic sites.
(13) "Transmission reliability agencies" means the federal energy regulatory commission, the western electricity coordinating council, the national electric reliability council, and the midwest reliability organization.
(14) "Transmission substation" means any structure, device, or equipment assemblage, commonly located and designed for voltage regulation, circuit protection, or switching necessary for the construction or operation of a proposed transmission line.
(15) "Upgrade" means to increase the electrical carrying capacity of a transmission line by actions including but not limited to:
(a) installing larger conductors;
(b) replacing insulators;
(c) replacing pole or tower structures;
(d) changing structure spacing, design, or guying; or
(e) installing additional circuits.
(16) "Utility" means any person engaged in any aspect of the production, storage, sale, delivery, or furnishing of heat, electricity, gas, hydrocarbon products, or energy in any form for ultimate public use.