The Montana Legislature's Water Policy Interim Committee will consider reports, recommendations, and legislation at its upcoming July 13-14 meeting. The Department of Environmental Quality will also update the committee on the status of nutrient variances for water quality discharge permits. The meeting will be conducted in three 2-hour Zoom segments beginning at 1 p.m. July 13.
State law requires water pollution discharge permit-holders to meet certain standards for nitrogen and phosphorous, for which there is a variance process. This variance process was recently changed due to a 2019 federal lawsuit. As a result of this lawsuit and ongoing litigation, the state will require future permit-holders to meet narrative nutrient standards.
The committee will consider the following draft reports:
- HJ14 study of the future of the Water Court
- HJ40 study of weather modification
- a whitepaper on "climate and water rights"
The committee will also discuss legislation related to:
- weather modification
- adjudication benchmarks
- water right ownership updates and the use of geocodes
This meeting is open to the public. The meetings will be streamed live on www.leg.mt.gov and broadcast on the Montana Public Affairs Network (MPAN). An archived recording of the meeting will also be made immediately available on www.leg.mt.gov.
To participate, email Jason Mohr (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name and a request, and staff will send instructions for joining and participating in the meeting by 5 p.m. July 10. Written comments may be emailed to staff and forwarded to the committee. Additional information on joining these meetings will be provided on the committee website, www.leg.mt.gov/water, and on the committee agenda.
The WPIC is led by Rep. Zach Brown, D-Bozeman, chairman, and Sen. Jeffrey Welborn, R-Dillon, vice-chairman. Other members of the committee are: Sen. Jill Cohenour (D-E. Helena), Sen. Bruce “Butch” Gillespie (R-Ethridge), Sen. Jon Sesso (D-Butte), Rep. Bob Brown (R-Thompson Falls), Rep. Carl Glimm (R-Kila), Rep. Bradley Maxon Hamlett (D-Cascade), Rep. Shane Morigeau (D-Missoula), and Rep. Walt Sales (R-Manhattan).