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Background – The Role of the Conservation Districts in CBMPA


Montana Coal Bed Methane Protection Act (CBMPA) and Program

 

Flowing well - horses at water source - foreground shows area of water overflow and dead vegetation, Powder River County Conservation District, Montana. 10.07.2015. 4 of 4. Photo by Don Sasse, CBMPA Program Coordinator.

CBMPA Legislation / Act

 

Purpose

  • 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.

 

Montana Code Annotated 2015 - http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca_toc/76_15_9.htm


Montana Code Ann - CBMPA funds available beginning after June 30, 2011 - http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/mtcode/76/15/9/76-15-904


2001 Montana Legislature - http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2001/BillHtml/HB0572.htm


Coal Bed Methane Legislation – Approved 2001 Montana Legislature, June 2001 –http://leg.mt.gov/content/Committees/Interim/2001_2002/environmental_quality_council/subcommittees/water_policy/staffmemos/coalbedleg.pdf

 

CBMPA Program

The Coal Bed Methane Protection Act established the Cola Bed Methane Protection 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 (CDs), established under MCA 76-15-101, that have coal beds within their exterior boundary, or whose water sources may be adversely affected by the extraction of coal bed methane.

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.”

Beginning in July 1, 2011, compensation became 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.  See CBMPP committee developed criteria below.

 


Application Criteria:

  1. The applicant must be a private landowner (person or legal entity), valid water right holder with an identifiable and documented interest in the land or water subject to the application.
  2. The applicant must provide evidence that an “emergency” loss of water supply exists, which is defined as “the loss of a water supply that must be replaced immediately to avoid substantial damage”.
  3. The applicant must provide evidence that the loss of water supply is attributable to or caused by coal bed methane development.
  4. The applicant must provide evidence that the applicant has notified coal bed methane developers or operators and it is unlikely that compensation will be made by the developers or operators within a time frame necessary to avoid substantial damage.
  5. The applicant must provide evidence that the applicant has notified coal bed methane developers or operators and it is unlikely that compensation will be made by the developers or operators within a time frame necessary to avoid substantial damage.
  6. The applicant must provide evidence that the existing source of state funding, including state-mandated payments that compensate for emergency loss of water supply damages, will not be timely available.
  7. The maximum amount paid for emergency loss of water supply man not exceed $50,000, and may not exceed 75% of the cost of restoring or replacing the water supply.
  8. The applicant must agree to fully or partially reimburse the Coal Bed Methane protection account if the applicant receives compensation from another source relating to the same lost water supply occurrence, and such compensation exceeds the applicant’s total out-of-pocket costs.
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