City of Bozeman v. Montana Department of Natural Resources & ConservationAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order denying the petition filed by the City of Bozeman seeking judicial review of a final order of the Department of Natural Resources (DNRC) granting Utility Solutions, LLC's application to change a water right, holding that the court did not err in determining that the City's water facility plan did not qualify as an interest protectable from adverse effects under Mont. Code Ann. 85-2-402(2)(a).
Utility Solutions filed its change application for authorization to change the place of use of its water use permit. The City filed an objection, arguing that the application would adversely affect the City's possessory interest in the area that was established by the City's adoption of a growth policy, as expanded geographically by an updated water facility plan. The DNRC hearing examiner granted the change application, concluding that although the change application resulted in a geographic overlap of the place of use with the City's water facility plan, the overlap did not result in an adverse effect within the meaning of section 85-2-402(2)(a). The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in affirming the DNRC's determination that Utility Solutions carried its burden to prove the City did not have an interest protectable from adverse effects.