Policy Statements

Public Lands: It is the position of the Montana Petroleum Association that public lands that not part of a designated national park or wilderness and open for multiple uses must remain open for multiple uses including oil and gas, timber, mining, grazing, and recreational activities. State and local economies must not be further encumbered in favor of sweeping preservation measures because multiple uses on public lands are keys to economic development and sustainability in the local communities. The removal of any lands from multiple use status will disproportionately affect the counties and rural school districts surrounding the public land.

The domestic oil and gas industry generates above average wages and payments for services and materials, almost all of which stay in the U.S. Employment benefits are derived both directly from the drilling, producing and transporting of natural gas as well as indirectly from support of the industry. Further, taxes and fees paid by Montana’s petroleum industry and other natural resource development, such as grazing, mining and timber, fund education and other critical government services at the local, state and federal levels.

MPA opposes reducing the availability of multiple use public lands for any reason and by any method. Similarly, MPA opposes restrictions on multiple use public lands that place onerous restrictions on the development of public minerals and other natural resources. All too often national park, wilderness, and monument rules are extended into buffer zones beyond the legal boundaries of such areas. MPA opposes any buffer zone that extends restrictions beyond national park and wilderness boundaries established by law.

Taxation: In Montana the taxation of oil and gas production, the taxation of equipment to produce, transport, process and refine oil and gas, and the taxation of the corporate income derived from the petroleum industry have been evolving over the past decade with positive results of a system of taxation and rates of taxation that are competitive with surrounding states. The impacts of competitive rates of return have encouraged petroleum industry investments in Montana to the benefit of the industry and to the benefit of the state of Montana.

Hydraulic Fracturing: Some elected officials and environmental organizations believe hydraulic fracturing should be restricted and regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the federal Safe Drinking Act because of its perceived impact on drinking water. In fact, “fracking” of oil and gas bearing rock is tightly controlled and occurs nearly two miles beneath the surface, with fully sealed wellbores, thousands of tons of rock and several confining strata isolating it from any drinking water sources above.

Hydraulic fracturing enhances the productivity of about 90 percent of America’s oil and gas wells and helps make over 4,000 wells in Montana more productive. Without it, up to 30 percent of domestic supply would remain inaccessible.

Under regulation and strict oversight by the states, more than one million wells have been hydraulically fractured in the U.S. over 60 years, with no harm to groundwater or to the environment.