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Governor Martz Creates Energy Development Task Force

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2001
CONTACT: Anastasia Burton
Governorís Office
(406) 444-5523

(HELENA)---Governor Judy Martz announced today she has created an interdepartmental task force to facilitate joint actions by state agencies relating to the development of energy projects in Montana.

The Interagency Energy Development Task Force, established by Executive Order 7-01, consists of the directors (or their appointees) of: The Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Historic Preservation Office, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

The new panel, which was created on May 8, will be administered by the Department of Environmental Quality and will remain in existence for four years, unless extended or terminated by a subsequent executive order from the Governor.

The most important objective of the task force will be to provide technical assistance and strategic planning advice to the Montana Power Authority, created in HB 474. The members of the authority will be appointed by Governor Martz in the near future.

"Because several state agencies have authority to regulate different elements regarding the review, permitting, construction, and operation of proposed power generating facilities, I established this task force to foster partnerships to coordinate those activities," Governor Martz said. "By acting as a central point of contact, the task force can expedite the review and permitting process and help us move in a more streamlined fashion to tackle the energy crisis we're in."

Governor Martz named DEQ Director Jan Sensibaugh as the Council's chairperson for its initial organizational meeting. Dan Rapkoch, DEQ Public Information Officer, said, "State agencies are receiving inquiries from a number of prospective energy developers. Not only will this task force help reduce duplication of agency effort, it will help provide information about proposed energy development and government involvement to the public affected by the projects."

The group plans to schedule its first meeting next month in Helena with Governor Martz. At that time, task force members will hear from the Governor and set their meeting schedules for the coming months.

The Governor's executive order may be viewed on line at: www.discoveringmontana.com/gov2/css/eo/07-01.asp

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