State Solicits Comments on Restoration Grant Criteria
HELENA – Proposed changes in the criteria the state uses to select grants for funding from proceeds of the state’s partial settlement of the natural resource damage lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Company are available for public comment, Restoration Program Chief Carol Fox said Thursday.
In 1999, the state received approximately $130 million, including interest, to restore, replace, rehabilitate or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources that were damaged by decades of mining and smelting in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin. Over the past two years, the state has awarded $12.2 million of that to fund restoration projects in the Basin.
“The restoration planning process is a work in progress,” Fox explained. “With two grant cycles under our belt, we’re now in a position to suggest changes based on what we’ve found works best.”
According to Fox, the proposed changes will simplify the process of applying for grants of $25,000 or less, eliminate duplicative criteria and clarify language in the document previously found confusing.
The proposed changes include:
- a new process for Small Restoration Grants and Project Development Grants of $25,000 and less;
- changes in the minimum qualification screening criteria;
- clarifying the public access criterion; and
- deleting duplicative criteria and clarifying other criteria.
A summary of the changes can be found in the draft Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB) Restoration Plan Procedures and Criteria (as revised December 2001).
The Governor’s Trustee Restoration Council has approved the proposed changes for public comment. The changes are subject to a 30-day public comment period. The Trustee Restoration Council will then review the comments and make a final recommendation to the Governor as to whether the changes should be adopted.
Public comment on the proposed changes must be postmarked by February 1, 2002. Copies of the draft UCFRB Restoration Plan Procedures and Criteria (as revised December 2001) are located at libraries in Butte, Anaconda, Deer Lodge, Missoula and the Bonner School, or on the Department of Justice website.
Written comments may be sent to Kathy Coleman, Natural Resource Damage Program, P.O. Box 201425, Helena, MT 59620-1425 or faxed to 444-0236 or sent by e-mail to email@example.com.