Montana Coal Bed Methane
• To establish procedures for evaluating claims for compensation submitted by private landowner.
• To provide information sharing as the CBM Protection Act is used in conservation districts.
• To conduct business as needed for the conservation districts that relates to CBM Protection Act.
• To seek legislative action as needed.
• To provide for outreach to educate CDs and the public about assistance available from the CBM Protection Act.
Background on the Coal Bed Methane Program:
The Coal Bed Methane Protection Act established the Coal Bed Methane Program as provided for in Title 76, Chapter 15, part 9 of the Montana Code Annotated (MCA).
This act assigns administrative authority over the Program to Conservation Districts (CD's), established under MCA 76-15-101, that have coal beds within the exterior boundary, or whose water sources may be adversely affected by the extraction of coal bed.
The Program was established by the 2001 Legislature for the purpose of “compensating private landowners and water right holders for damage to land and to water quality and availability that is attributable to the development of coal bed methane wells.”
Compensation is presently only available for emergency loss of water supply attributable to coal bed methane development. Beginning July 1, 2011, compensation will be available for landowners or water right holders who can demonstrate other CBM related damages such as loss of agricultural production or the reduction in quantity or quality of water that affects the beneficial use of that water. (criteria is currently being developed by the committee)
The Committee was established to assist the CD's in administering the CBM Act. It is comprised of members of 8 CD’s in Southeast Montana. Currently, these members have developed an application for an emergency loss of water in springs or wells directly resulting from CBM development.