- CBM Frequently Asked Questions
- CBM in Montana
- Environmental Impact Statement
- Environmental/Economic Issues
- Laws, Regulations and Permits
- CBM in Wyoming
- Interstate Issues
- Calendar of Events
- Press Releases/Public Notices
- News Clippings
- Contact Information & Links
- Other Interesting Links
- Board of Environmental Review
Agendas and Minutes that
include CBM-related matters
- Summary of March 23rd Board Action
Coal Bed Methane
Federal, State, and Local Laws,
Regulations, and Permits - That May Be Required
This is a partial list. Check back for updates.
Federal Clean Water Act & Regulations
- Section 404 of the Clean Water Act
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Montana Regulatory Information Page
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. All Montana and Wyoming waterbodies and wetlands are regulated under Section 404. Typical Section 404 activities: Riprap, Roadway Fills, Jetties, Channel Blocks, Dikes/Dams, Boat Ramps, Channel Changes.
Water Act, 33 USC 1341 Chapter 26 - Water Pollution Prevention and Control
Water Act, Section 404 Regulations (33 Parts 320-330) and
- Applications for Section 404 Permits should be forwarded directly to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Helena Regulatory Office, 301 South Park, Drawer 10014, Helena, MT 59626-0014. The Montana Joint Application should be used for all projects within the State.
- Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and Regulations
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program
- The Safe Drinking Water Act established the UIC Program to provide these safeguards so that injection wells do not endanger current and future underground sources of drinking water. The EPA has the authority to control underground drinking water sources. The EPA has identified five classes of wells defined by the type of waste they inject and where the waste is injected. Visit the EPA website for definitions of the five classes and for comprehensive information on the UIC program.
- The Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation has been delegated responsibility for Class II wells in Montana (except on tribal lands). Class II wells include injection of brines and other fluids associated with oil and gas production. For more information on Class II permits, contact George Hudak, Director of Class II permitting, 406-656-0040.
- The EPA, Region 8 office in Denver handles all other classes of wells for Montana, including Class V wells. Class V wells are shallow wells that inject non-hazardous waste. For more information, contact Lisa Johnson: phone 303-312-6242, or Paul Osborne: 303-312-6125.
- Safe Drinking Water Act for the UIC Program (42 U.S.C.300h et seq.)
e-CFR Data is current as of June 15, 2006
TITLE 40--Protection of Environment
CHAPTER I--ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
SUBCHAPTER D--WATER PROGRAMS
PART 146--UNDERGROUND INJECTION CONTROL PROGRAM: CRITERIA AND STANDARDS
- National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Environmemtal Policy Act of 1969
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)
- NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act requires all
federal agencies to: 1. Assess the environmental
impacts of major federal projects or decisions such as issuing permits,
spending federal money, or actions that affect federal lands. 2.
Consider the environmental impacts in making decisions. 3.
Disclose the environmental impacts to the public.
An example of a project that requires compliance with NEPA is oil and gas development on federal lands. EPA Region 8, which includes Montana, rarely prepares EISs because most of the agency's federal decisions, such as issuing permits, have been delegated to the states (including Montana) and therefore no longer invoke NEPA.
- EPA comment letters for projects in Montana
- Montana Board of Oil & Gas Conservation (BOGC)
- Wells Drilled for the Purpose of Exploring for or Producing CBM
Oil and Gas statutes are included in Title 82, Chapter 11, Montana Code Annotated
BOGC general rules and regulations are contained in ARM
32-22-101 through 1706
Order establishing coal bed methane operating practices within
the Powder River Basin Controlled Groundwater Area in Big
Horn, Powder River, Rosebud, Treasure and Custer Counties,
Montana, December 1999, BOGC. Applies to CBM wells
drilled on private and state land. It does not apply to
lands owned by Indian Tribes.
- Application for Permit to Drill
- Montana Clean Air Act & Rules
- CBM Development Air Quality Permitting Requirements
- Pursuant to Sections 75-2-204 and 211 of the
Montana Code Annotated, as amended, and the Administrative Rules of
Montana (ARM) 17.8.705, any source or stack, not specifically excluded
by rule, with the potential to emit greater than 25 tons per year of
any regulated pollutant must obtain an air quality pre-construction
permit prior to the construction or operation of the affected
- The process of coalbed methane extraction requires the construction and
operation of wells to access the gas and compressor stations to extract
the gas. The compressor stations consist of various pieces of equipment
with the potential to emit pollutants at varying levels depending on equipment
capacities. In addition, the facility may incorporate a coalbed methane
powered generator (well-head generator) located on top of the well to generate
electricity. In these cases, the generator would also be a source of pollutant
- A typical compressor station harvesting CBM will
incorporate from 1 to 3 compressor engines varying in power from 100
to 500 hp. Operation of these natural gas fired engines results in the emission of regulated
air pollutants including CO, NOx, VOC, SOx, and PM10.
- To date, all proposed compressor stations for the coalbed methane extraction project in south central Montana have required an air quality pre-construction permit under ARM 17.8.705. The department has not yet received an application for the construction and operation of a well-head generator.
- Montana Water Quality Act & Rules
Quality Discharge Permits, 75-5-401 through 405, MCA
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MPDES) Permits (rules)
ARM 17.30.1301 through 1426
Ground Water Pollution Control System (MGWPCS) Permits (rules), ARM 17.30.1001 through 1045
Montana Ground Water Pollution Control System (facility
specific industrial, commercial, or municipal dischargers) Permit
and Standards for State Waters 75-5-301, MCA
Water Standards and Procedures (rules) ARM 17.30.601 through 641
DEQ-7, Montana Numeric Water Quality Standards
Zones in Surface and Groundwater, 75-5-301(4), MCA
Zones in Surface and Groundwater (rules) ARM 17.30.501 through 518
of Water Quality, 75-5-303, MCA
of Water Quality (rules), ARM 17.30.701 through 717
Activities, 75-5-317, MCA (no rules)
Water Quality Standards for Turbidity Related to Construction
Activity, 75-5-318, MCA (no rules)
Certification of Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permits for Dredge and Fill Activities, 75-5-401, MCA
- 401 Certification of Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permits for Dredge and Fill Activities (rule) ARM 17.30.101 through 109
- Montana Water Use Act
- Controlled Groundwater Areas
- Montana has closed some of its river basins and groundwater
aquifers to certain types of water appropriations because of water
availability problems, water contamination problems, and a concern for
protecting existing water rights.
- The Powder River Basin Controlled Groundwater Area applies to wells designed and installed for the extraction of coal bed methane. CBM development must follow the standards for drilling, completing, testing, and production of CBM wells as adopted by the BOGC (see below); CBM operators must offer water mitigation agreements to owners of water or natural springs within one-half mile of a CBM operation or within the area that the operator reasonably believes may be impacted by the CBM operation, whichever is greater. This area will automatically be extended one-half mile beyond any well adversely affected; and DNRC will designate a Technical Advisory Committee to oversee groundwater characteristics and monitoring, and reporting requirements. For specific information on the Powder River Basin Controlled Groundwater Area, consult the Final Order.
- In addition to the forms required by the BOGC (see below), a
Montana Well Log Report, DNRC Form 603 (click on Forms) must be completed for both
production and monitoring wells when the wells are drilled and sent to
DNRC within 60 days of the well completion.
- Water Rights
- Beneficial uses of water from CBM operations, such as for stock ponds, wildlife ponds, or irrigation requires a water right issued by DNRC as provided by law.
- Conservation Districts (310 permit) - The local Conservation District is the administering agency for 310 permits.
Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act, 75-7-101 through
for applicant for a 310 permit
- 310 Forms
The Montana Joint Application should be used for all projects within the State.
- 310 Permitting Program (Application Information)