The Environmental Quality Council withdrew its objection to proposed rules governing the disposal of radioactive waste in Montana landfills at its May meeting.
The Department of Environmental Quality wrote rules regulating technology enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material, (TNORM) which can be produced by oil and gas development. The EQC objected to an amendment to lower the radionuclide concentration limit for acceptance in landfills.
With the withdrawal, the agency may move forward with enacting the amended rule.
The council also advanced a proposed bill draft that clarifies how the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks releases public information that may identify sensitive fish and wildlife locations. The proposal allows the department to release data at a scale that protects fish and wildlife. A request for specific location data will be fulfilled but the agency will inform the requestor that misuse of the data to kill or harass fish or wildlife may be a crime.
As part of its work on federal Wilderness Study Areas, the EQC heard presentations about resources in those areas including minerals and timber as well as reports on wilderness characteristics. At its next meeting, the council is inviting members of the state congressional delegation to speak about how to move forward with a permanent designation for those areas as either wilderness or as a less restricted part of the National Forest System.
Presenters also told the EQC about the latest research on chronic wasting disease, the upcoming fire and water supply outlooks, and the launching of inspections for aquatic invasive species.
Representatives on the council are Jim Keane, chair, D-Butte; Willis Curdy, D-Missoula; Steve Gunderson, R-Libby; Bradley Maxon Hamlett, D-Cascade; Theresa Manzella, R-Hamilton; and Kerry White, R-Bozeman. Senators are Mike Lang, vice chair, R-Malta; Pat Flowers, D-Bozeman; Steve Hinebauch, R-Wibaux; JP Pomnichowski, D-Bozeman; Carey Smith, R-Bozeman; and Gene Vuckovich, D-Anaconda. Public members are Scott Aspenlieder, Billings; John Brenden, Scobey; Rex Rogers, Boulder; and Matt Vincent, Butte.
The meeting is viewable, and reports are available at the council website: http://leg.mt.gov/eqc
Council staff: firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-444-3747.
The Legislative News.