The Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is providing $1.3 million dollars to support and expand the use of an electronic coal permitting system developed by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.
DEQ was awarded this funding because OSMRE recognized the ease of use and efficiency provided in DEQ’s current e-permitting system for coal. OSMRE is interested in further developing Montana’s system and then potentially making it available to states and tribes across the country.
“Coal permitting is a complex and technical process,’’ said DEQ Director Tom Livers, “I’m proud that Montana can partner with OSMRE to lead the way in improving permitting and regulatory efficiency while promoting public participation and transparency.”
DEQ worked with the assistance of industry stakeholders to develop the current Montana system. When complete, the expanded e-permitting system will include a public interest component, mobile device compatibility, a photo archive to record mine development and reclamation, software to ensure accurate and consistent bond calculations, and a comprehensive database to enable access to volumes of data about coal mines in the state. In addition to being useful for any new or existing permits, it will cover permit modifications and track reclamation activities.
“OSMRE is pleased to join in on this important cooperative project,” said OSMRE Regional Director Tom Shope. “Our combined State and Federal effort will build a fully functional electronic permitting application that we can eventually provide to all of the coal producing states and tribes across the country. That’s a terrific advance for everyone.”
“We continue to find innovative ways to implement efficiencies and streamline regulations,” said Governor Bullock. “This award demonstrates DEQ’s commitment to cutting red tape for businesses and state and federal partners, enabling businesses in Montana to grow, create jobs, and boost the economy.”
This e-permitting system reflects another successful project supported by Governor Bullock’s Main Street Montana Project, which is a dynamic partnership between the private and public sectors. This system is a prime example of government moving at the speed of business, making it more efficient and responsive to Montana business owners. The Main Street Montana Project was launched by Bullock in 2013 with the assistance of more than 250 CEOs and business leaders across the state.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Kristi Ponozzo, Montana Department Of Environmental Quality, 444-2813
Moshay Simpson, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, (202) 208-2565