(Missoula Current) A draft analysis of an automotive wrecking yard proposed for property near the Missoula airport found the facility would have little impact on the environment or aesthetic values in the area.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality released its draft environmental assessment on Monday for the wrecking facility. The agency will accept public comments until the end of February before rendering a final decision.

Missoula County has given Whippoorwill Salvage a green light to move forward with its project, pending DEQ's final approval. As presented to the county by Justin Quist, the wrecking facility would occupy around 10 acres while the remainder of the property will be developed with storage or a shop.

The salvage yard would be fully screened, Quist said, and include a concrete pad to capture fluid leaks, along with a modern reclamation system to hold waste oil and petroleum products for reuse or recycling.

“We're going to put a dirt berm along that fencing perimeter where we can add vegetation and trees,” Quist said in December. “The operation will be behind that dirt berm. With the berm, it's going to disappear pretty much. We'll also have a building and concrete surface to drain on so fluids can't leave.”

Motor Vehicle Wrecking Facilities in the state are licensed to buy and sell more than four cars per year to wreck or dismantle. They're also licensed to deal in secondhand junk vehicles and buy wrecked vehicles from insurance companies.

DEQ said such facilities “provide a commercial source of automotive parts at a cost savings to the consumer” and that “reuse and recycling of vehicle parts helps to conserve energy and natural resources.”

The agency's draft environmental analysis found that the proposed location for the wrecking facility was already surrounded by industrial and commercial uses and that the proper removal of fluids would have no significant impact on the environment.

While the proposed site has not yet been developed and sits in a prairie and grassland habitat, it would have little impact on the larger ecosystem.

“The site is in a developed area and is covered with native and nonnative grasses and flowering plants,” DEQ said. “Because the site is developed, licensing and subsequent operation of this site is unlikely to affect any species of concern. Additionally, none of the species of concern listed in the area were found in this habitat upon inspection.”

The public comment period closes February 28. Comments can be submitted electronically or by mail.