Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 3. Metal Mine Reclamation

Amendment To Operating Permits

82-4-342. Amendment to operating permits. (1) During the term of an operating permit issued under this part, an operator may apply for a permit revision as described in subsections (5)(g) through (5)(j) or an amendment to the permit. The operator may not apply for an amendment to delete disturbed acreage except following reclamation, as required under 82-4-336, and bond release for the disturbance, as required under 82-4-338.

(2) (a) The department may by rule establish criteria for the classification of amendments as major or minor. The department shall adopt rules establishing requirements for the content of applications for revisions and major and minor amendments and the procedures for processing revisions and minor amendments.

(b) An amendment must be considered minor if:

(i) it is for the purpose of retention of mine-related facilities that are valuable for postmining use;

(ii) evidence is submitted showing that a local government has requested retention of the mine- related facilities for a postmining use; and

(iii) the postmining use of the mine-related facilities meets the requirements provided for in 82-4-336.

(3) Applications for major amendments must be processed pursuant to 82-4-337.

(4) The department shall review an application for a revision or a minor amendment and provide a notice of decision on the adequacy of the application within 30 days. If the department does not respond within 30 days, then the permit is revised or amended in accordance with the application.

(5) The department is not required to prepare an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement for the following categories of action and permit revisions:

(a) actions that qualify for a categorical exclusion as defined by rule or justified by a programmatic review pursuant to Title 75, chapter 1;

(b) administrative actions, such as routine, clerical, or similar functions of a department, including but not limited to administrative procurement, contracts for consulting services, and personnel actions;

(c) repair or maintenance of the permittee's equipment or facilities;

(d) investigation and enforcement actions, such as data collection, inspection of facilities, or enforcement of environmental standards;

(e) ministerial actions, such as actions in which the agency does not exercise discretion, but acts upon a given state of facts in a prescribed manner;

(f) approval of actions that are primarily social or economic in nature and that do not otherwise affect the human environment;

(g) changes in a permit boundary that increase disturbed acres that are insignificant in impact relative to the entire operation, provided that the increase is less than 25 acres or 10% of the permitted area, whichever is less;

(h) changes to an approved reclamation plan if the changes are consistent with this part and rules adopted pursuant to this part;

(i) changes in an approved operating plan for an activity that was previously permitted if the changes will be insignificant relative to the entire operation and the changes are consistent with subsection (5)(g);

(j) changes in a permit for the purpose of retention of mine-related facilities that are valuable for postmining use;

(k) modifications to a tailings storage facility that result in a minor expansion to the facility if:

(i) the proposed modification is certified by the seal of the engineer of record;

(ii) the capacity increase resulting from the expansion is no greater than 15% of the capacity of the existing tailings storage facility; and

(iii) the modification complies with 82-4-376(2)(l) and (2)(dd) and is exempt under subsection (5)(g), (5)(h), or (5)(i) of this section; and

(l) applications for rock product permits and amendments pursuant to 82-4-343.

History: En. Sec. 3, Ch. 472, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 397, Ch. 418, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 365, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 410, L. 2011; amd. Sec. 14, Ch. 399, L. 2015; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 152, L. 2021; amd. Sec. 103, Ch. 324, L. 2021.