HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is further extending the review period for a permit application for a gravel pit one mile east of Shepherd in Yellowstone County. Riverside Contracting, Inc., is seeking a permit to operate a proposed 74-acre opencut mine known as the Donnes Site.
DEQ notified the applicant April 26 that the proposed plan of operation would be subject to Extended Review, giving DEQ an additional 60 days for evaluation. On June 25, the review period was extended an additional 30 days, ending July 25. The additional time is required to evaluate substantive issues raised at a public meeting April 17 in Shepherd, as well as input submitted to DEQ via mail and email. Specifically, DEQ is evaluating concerns that the proposed plan of operation does not:
- Protect shallow groundwater resources used by area residents for drinking water and domestic needs.
- Make adequate provisions for noise and visual impacts on nearby residential areas.
- Adequately convey the interrelation of the proposed pit hydrology to the neighboring Crooked Creek watershed.
- Adequately address maintaining the conveyance of irrigation water through ditches near and within the site or the interrelation of pit hydrology with the ditches.
When the review period ends July 25, DEQ will issue the applicant a Deficiency Notice identifying elements of the application that do not meet the requirements of the Montana Opencut Mining Act. To resume the permitting process, the applicant must submit a revised permit application that addresses the deficiencies.
The permit application can be viewed at searchopencutpermits.mt.gov/ by entering “Donnes” in the “Site Name” box, or by entering “3077” in the “Opencut #” box and clicking the “Search” button. Written comments may continue to be submitted throughout the comment period by visiting the DEQ Opencut Mining Section’s webpage at: deq.mt.gov/Land/opencut
Click the “Public Comment” tab and scroll to “Public Comment for Riverside Contracting Inc. – Donnes – Opencut # 3077.”
Comments may be submitted via U.S. Mail to:
DEQ Opencut Mining Section
PO Box 200901
Helena, MT 59620-0901