Montana Geothermal Environmental Review(9-MT)
If a project requires a state agency action, the agency and the developer must comply with the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) unless the activities are otherwise exempt/excluded under Rule 17-4-607(5). MEPA is a procedural statute requiring public notice/comment and the consideration of alternatives, similar to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The MDEQ and the Montana Environmental Quality Council may be consulted by either the responsible agency or the developer during the MEPA process.
Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply
Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.
Permitting at a Glance
|Environmental Review Process:||If a project requires a state agency action, the agency and the developer must comply with the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) .||National Environmental Policy Act|
|Environmental Review Process Agency:||Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Montana Environmental Quality Council||United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Energy, United States Department of Defense|
|Type of Environmental Review (Leasing Stage):||None||Typically an Environmental Assessment (EA) is conducted for individual leases. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) may be required for programmatic environmental reviews or when reviewing multiple lease parcels in a single review.|
|Type of Environmental Review (Non-Invasive Exploration):||None||A categorical exclusion is available for all activities covered under a Notice of Intent to Conduct Geophysical Exploration (NOI), subject to extraordinary circumstance review. Where the activity results in an extraordinary circumstance, an EA or EIS is required.|
|Type of Environmental Review (Invasive Exploration):||MEPA review process||Temperature Gradient Holes are permitted under a categorical exclusion and subject to the same conditions as non-invasive exploration as discussed above. Any other exploration drilling activity to confirm the existence of a geothermal resource will likely require an EA.|
|Type of Environmental Review (Drilling):||MEPA review process||Production drilling activities will likely require an EA, but depending on the nature of the specific project, could require an EIS.|
|Type of Environmental Review (Power Plant Siting):||MEPA review process||Most Plans of Utilization (POU)s require an EA or EIS.|
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