The owner of a company proposing a much-contested water bottling plant in Creston in the Flathead Valley won't be compelled to testify before the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
A September 19 hearing on Lew Weaver’s proposed plant saw hours of testimony, but not from Weaver, who was suffering health problems at the time. The hearing record was kept open, however, pending his ability to testify. Yesterday the DNRC’s hearing examiner ordered that the record would be closed without Weaver's testimony.
Two years ago Weaver’s company applied for a permit to draw up to 710 acre-feet of water a year, which the DNRC preliminarily approved. Neighbors and others in the valley objected, concerned that the permit was for several times larger than the plant Weaver has said he wants to open. Weaver's supporters say that he is facing undue resistance and has followed all requirements in his application process.
Proponents and opponents have until the end of this month to file their closing briefs. After that the DNRC has 90 days in which to issue a final determination on the permit.