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1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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Coal Bed Methane Protection Act Program (CBMPA Program)

A program to help private landowners whose water, water rights, or lands have been impacted by Coal Bed Methane activities.

Spouting well / (alfalfa) cake shed well - water and gas spouting and resulting in ice/coal formation, State Lands, Powder River County Conservation District, Montana. 02.26.2011. GWIC ID 285613. Photo by Levi Mceuen, past CBMPA Program Coordinator.

Coal Bed Methane

Coal bed methane (CBM) is found in coal seams. Pumping water from the coal seam lowers the pressure and facilitates the migration of methane toward the surface where it can be collected and transported by pipelines.  The amount of water that must be pumped from the coal aquifer varies by coal seam and age of the CBM well.  Depending on local conditions there can be a drawdown of aquifers associated with CBM activity.

Source for more information:

Locations of Ground Water Simulation Models For Educational Displays




Gas Migration

CBM production releases methane gas from storage in the coal bed, allowing it to migrate to the gas-production wells. Some CBM, however, is not captured by the production wells and migrates outside the gas field. Once outside the influence of the gas field and production facilities, this maverick gas can make its way to vent at coal outcrops or it can be captured by local water wells. In the Moorhead area of Montana, capture by ranch wells appears to be happening.


Montana Coal Bed Methane Protection Act (CBMPA) and Program


  • 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 (CDs).
  • 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.

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