Published: September 23, 2009
The following comments are submitted on behalf of Trout Unlimited, Earthworks, the Montana Council of Trout Unlimited, and the Clark Fork Coalition on the proposed renewal of General Permit MTG370000, which covers discharges from portable recreational suction dredge mining operations. As detailed below, these organizations have serious concerns with DEQ's proposed removal of the current permit conditions allowing DEQ to deny or seasonally restrict proposed operations on streams where sediment discharged from dredge mining could seriously disrupt the reproductive success of spawning fish. We believe the removal of these conditions would violate the requirements of the Montana Water Quality Act ( WQA ) and federal Clean Water Act ( CWA ). More, specifically, they would violate the requirement that all MPDES permits include conditions ensuring compliance with all applicable water quality standards. In addition, we believe the proposed permit raises concerns under Montana's nondegradation policy.