Water Policy Committee to Meet, Discuss 2015-16 Priorities - news.mt.gov

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Water Policy Committee to Meet, Discuss 2015-16 Priorities

Thursday, May 21, 2015/Categories: Legislative Branch/Tags: Water Policy Interim Committee

After the 2015 Montana Legislature expanded their duties, the Water Policy Interim Committee (WPIC) meets June 1-2 to discuss committee priorities for the upcoming 15 months.

The committee also welcomes three new members: Rep. Bob Brown, R-Thompson Falls; Rep. Zach Brown, D-Bozeman; and Rep. Carl Glimm, R-Kila. Returning members are: Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls; Sen. Bradley Maxon Hamlett, D-Cascade; Sen. Sharon Stewart-Peregoy, D-Crow Agency; Sen. Chas Vincent, R-Libby; and Rep. Kathleen Williams, D-Bozeman.

Senate Bill 82 expanded and focused WPIC duties to include oversight of issues and agency programs “where the primary concern is the quality or quantity of water.” As a result, certain Department of Environmental Quality bureaus and a Department of Natural Resources and Conservation division will report to the committee, including for reviews of administrative rules and legislation.

Another committee priority includes a study of federal Section 404 permitting. Senate Joint Resolution 2 asks the committee to examine the feasibility of assuming authority over the permitting process from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Clean Water Act requires Section 404 permits for actions that place dredged or fill material into wetlands or other waters of the United States. This might include filling a wetland, constructing a dam or levee, building highways or airports, or mining. Section 404 permits are among other permits required by state or local jurisdictions.

The committee meeting begins at 1 p.m. June 1 in room 172 at the State Capitol.

The Montana Legislature formed the WPIC in 2009.

For more information, contact Jason Mohr, committee staff, at 444-1640 or jasonmohr@mt.gov.


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