Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 3. Streamside Management Zones

Responsibility For Compliance -- Penalties -- Administrative Orders

77-5-305. Responsibility for compliance -- penalties -- administrative orders. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsection (1)(b), it is the responsibility of the owner to ensure compliance with the provisions of this part and rules adopted pursuant to this part.

(b) If a written contract between an owner and an operator specifies that the operator is responsible for compliance with laws relating to forest practices, the operator is considered the responsible party for all enforcement actions taken by the department under this section.

(2) A person who violates a provision of this part, a rule adopted pursuant to this part, or an order issued under this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000. Each day of violation constitutes a separate violation.

(3) (a) When the department determines that an owner or operator has violated a provision of this part or a rule adopted pursuant to this part and has caused damage to watershed or wildlife resources, the department may serve an order requiring the person responsible for the conduct of forest practices to undertake necessary site rehabilitation within a reasonable period of time stated in the order. The order must specify the nature of the violation and the damage or unsatisfactory condition resulting from the violation.

(b) The order becomes final unless, within 30 days after the notice is served, the person named requests in writing a hearing before the department. On receipt of the request, the department shall schedule a hearing. Service by mail is complete on the date of mailing.

(c) If, after a hearing, the department finds that a violation has occurred and the watershed or wildlife habitat damage warrants site rehabilitation, it shall affirm or modify the order previously issued. If the department finds that a violation has not occurred or that site rehabilitation is not warranted, it shall rescind the order.

(d) The department may include in an order a provision that the owner or operator immediately cease causing further damage and take immediate action to alleviate the damage or to prevent future damage. The department may institute an action for injunctive relief under Title 27, chapter 19, if the recipient of the order does not comply with it.

(4) Subsection (3) does not prevent the department from seeking voluntary compliance and site rehabilitation through warning, conference, or any other appropriate means.

(5) All fines and penalties levied under this section must be deposited in the state general fund.

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 608, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 60, Ch. 422, L. 1997.