Montana

Land ownership

Natural resource extraction varies widely from state to state. In Montana, extractive industries accounted for 2.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.

Montana leads the nation in production of:

    Natural resource ownership in the U.S. is closely tied to land ownership. Land can be owned by citizens, corporations, Indian tribes or individuals, or governments (for instance, federal, state, or local governments). Much of the data on this site is limited to natural resource extraction on federal land, which represents 29.0% of all land in Montana.

    The state of Montana chose to participate in an extended reporting process, so this page includes additional state revenue and disbursements data, as well as contextual information about state governance of natural resources.

    Production

    The Office of Natural Resources Revenue collects detailed data about natural resource production on federal land in Montana.

    Downloads and documentation

    Coal

    14,015,797 tons of coal were produced on federal land in Montana in 2017.

    County production

    Big Horn CountyMusselshell CountyRichland CountyRosebud CountyTreasure CountyBig Horn CountyMusselshell CountyRichland CountyRosebud CountyTreasure County
    County production of coal in 2017 (tons)

    Gas

    11,832,528 mcf of gas were produced on federal land in Montana in 2017.

    County production

    Big Horn CountyBlaine CountyCarbon CountyCarter CountyChouteau CountyCuster CountyDawson CountyFallon CountyFergus CountyGlacier CountyHill CountyLiberty CountyPhillips CountyPondera CountyPowder River CountyPrairie CountyRichland CountyRoosevelt CountyRosebud CountySheridan CountyStillwater CountyToole CountyValley CountyWibaux CountyBig Horn CountyBlaine CountyCarbon CountyCarter CountyChouteau CountyCuster CountyDawson CountyFallon CountyFergus CountyGlacier CountyHill CountyLiberty CountyPhillips CountyPondera CountyPowder River CountyPrairie CountyRichland CountyRoosevelt CountyRosebud CountySheridan CountyStillwater CountyToole CountyValley CountyWibaux County
    County production of gas in 2017 (mcf)

    Oil

    2,862,422 barrels of oil were produced on federal land in Montana in 2017.

    County production

    Blaine CountyCarbon CountyCarter CountyDawson CountyFallon CountyGarfield CountyGlacier CountyLiberty CountyMusselshell CountyPetroleum CountyPowder River CountyPrairie CountyRichland CountyRoosevelt CountyRosebud CountySheridan CountyStillwater CountyToole CountyWibaux CountyYellowstone CountyBlaine CountyCarbon CountyCarter CountyDawson CountyFallon CountyGarfield CountyGlacier CountyLiberty CountyMusselshell CountyPetroleum CountyPowder River CountyPrairie CountyRichland CountyRoosevelt CountyRosebud CountySheridan CountyStillwater CountyToole CountyWibaux CountyYellowstone County
    County production of oil in 2017 (bbl)

    Revenue

    Companies pay a wide range of fees, rates, and taxes to extract natural resources in the United States. What companies pay to federal, state, and local governments often depends on who owns the natural resources.

    Natural resource extraction can lead to federal revenue in two ways: non-tax revenue and tax revenue. Revenue data on this site primarily includes non-tax revenue from extractive industry activities on federal land.

    Downloads and documentation

    Revenue from production on federal land by resource

    When companies extract natural resources on federal lands and waters, they pay royalties, rents, bonuses, and other fees, much like they would to any landowner. This non-tax revenue is collected and reported by the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR).

    For details about the laws and policies that govern how rights are awarded to companies and what they pay to extract natural resources on federal land: coal, oil and gas, renewable resources, and hardrock minerals.

    The federal government collects different kinds of fees at each phase of natural resource extraction. This chart shows how much federal revenue was collected in Calendar year (CY) 2017 for production or potential production of natural resources on federal land in Montana, broken down by phase of production.

    Commodity1. Securing rights2. Before production3. During productionOther revenue
    Oil and Gas
    Oil & Gas
    $18,338,806
    $762,956$773,560Oil$13,883,802Gas$2,034,156NGL$70,245$814,087
    Coal
    Coal
    $32,773,202
    $0$111,816$32,661,386$0
    Other products
    Sulfur
    $239
    $0$0$239$0
    Phosphate
    $4,227
    $0$0$0$4,227
    All commodities
    All commodities
    $51,116,474
    $762,956$885,376$48,649,828$818,314
    Commodity1. Securing rightsCompanies pay bonuses or other fees to secure rights to resources on federal land2. Before productionCompanies pay rent on federal land while exploring for resources3. During productionCompanies pay royalties after production beginsOther revenueMinimum or estimated royalties, settlements, and interest payments
    Oil and Gas
    Oil & Gas
    $18,338,806
    $762,956$773,560Oil$13,883,802Gas$2,034,156NGL$70,245$814,087
    OnshoreBonus: The amount offered by the highest bidder$1.50 annual rent per acre for 5 years
    $2 annual rent per acre thereafter
    12.5% of production value
    Coal
    Coal
    $32,773,202
    $0$111,816$32,661,386$0
    Bonus: The amount offered by the highest bidder$3 annual rent per acreSurface mining: 12.5% of production value + $0.28 per ton in AML fees
    Subsurface mining: 8% of production value + $0.12 per ton in AML fees
    Other products
    Hardrock Acquired lands$6,500 prospecting permit fee$37 annual rent per acre + $0.50 annual prospecting fee per acreRoyalty rates are determined by leasing officers on an individual case basis (no minimums apply)
    All commodities
    All commodities
    $51,116,474
    $762,956$885,376$48,649,828$818,314
    Other revenue streams
    Hardrock mining on public domain landsFederal revenue from hardrock mining on public domain land occurs through the claim-staking process and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It is not included here, because the dataset does not have state-level data. Learn more about hardrock mining on federal land.
    Onshore solar and wind energyFederal revenue from onshore renewable energy generation on federal land is not included here, because that dataset, from BLM, does not have state-level data. Learn more about onshore renewables on federal land.
    To see how much was collected nationwide for all revenue types, including BLM revenues, see federal revenue by company.

    Most non-tax revenue collected by ONRR comes from counties with significant natural resources on federal land.

    Downloads and documentation

    Montana revenue streams (2016)

    In 2016, the state of Montana collected $246,887,799 in state revenue from natural resource extraction (this includes both tax and non-tax revenue). Counties also collect and distribute their own revenue from natural resource extraction.

    Download: Montana revenue streams (PDF)

    Revenue streamAmount collected
    Total$246,887,799
    Oil & Natural Gas Production Tax$84,972,199
    Coal Severance Tax$60,358,549
    U.S. Mineral Royalties$22,345,284
    Oil Royalty$7,388,547
    Coal Gross Proceeds$20,756,877
    Metal Mines Gross Proceeds$14,686,751
    Metalliferous Mines License Tax$8,164,498
    Abandoned Mine Land Fees$4,429,969
    Coal Royalties$9,124,779
    Wind Generation Property Tax$7,998,776
    $425,800
    This figure is estimated based on EIA data.
    Oil & Gas Bonus Income$138,629
    Oil & Gas Rental Income$976,081
    Resource Indemnity & Ground Water Asssessment Tax (RIGWAT)$2,335,153
    Gas Royalty$555,103
    Miscellaneous Mines Net Proceeds$1,624,098
    Oil & Gas Penalty Income$499,808
    Condensate Royalty$24,839
    Coal Rentals / Bonuses$49,535
    Land Use Licenses Rental Income$15,507
    Non-Metalliferous Mineral Leases Royalty Income$18
    Non-Metalliferous Mineral Leases Rental Income$5,430
    Oil & Gas Surface Damages$0
    Oil & Gas Seismic Permits$0
    Metalliferous Mineral Lease Rental Income$277
    Metalliferous Mineral Lease Royalty Income$0
    Land Use Licenses Royalty Income$11,292

    Disbursements

    After collecting revenue from natural resource extraction, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue distributes that money to different agencies, funds, and local governments for public use. This process is called “disbursement.”

    Most federal revenue disbursements go into national funds. For detailed data about which expenditures and projects from those national funds are in Montana, see nationwide federal disbursements.

    ONRR also disburses some revenue from natural resource extraction to state governments. In 2018, ONRR disbursed $25,686,292 to Montana.

    Downloads and documentation

    Distribution of Montana state revenues (2016)

    In 2016, the state of Montana distributed $246,887,799 in state revenue from natural resource extraction to state and local funds.

    State fundDistribution
    Total$246,887,799
    General Fund$79,155,245
    $69,980,227
    County governments receive money from the oil & natural gas production tax, coal gross proceeds tax, metalliferous minerals license tax, and federal mineral royalties. 17 Montana counties received over $1 million in state distributions from natural resource revenue.
    $18,008,101
    This is a fund that funds common schools.
    $30,179,274
    This fund was established by the Montana State Constitution, which requires that 50% of coal severance tax revenue go to the trust fund before the remainder is distributed. The estimated balance at the end of FY 2014 was $963 million, and interest from the fund goes to projects related to economic development, water, and infrastructure projects.
    State Share$13,047,282
    State School Oil & Gas Distribution$1,394,905
    Long Range Building$7,243,026
    Oil and Natural Gas Conservation Account Tax$1,534,356
    State Orphan Share Fund$1,281,080
    State Natural Resources Projects$1,712,375
    Montana University System$1,150,801
    Public Land Trust$585,518
    Shared Account$3,295,577
    Board of Oil & Gas Conservation$812,294
    State Natural Resources Operations$877,214
    Coal Board$3,434,905
    Hard Rock Debt Service$693,982
    Natural Resources Operations$571,515
    Park Acquisition Trust$766,554
    Renewable Resource Debt Service$573,406
    Hazardous Waste/CERCLA special revenue account$387,182
    Environmental Quality Protection Fund$387,182
    Groundwater Assessment Account$366,000
    Cultural and Aesthetic Projects$380,259
    Hard Rock Mining$204,112
    CERCLA Debt Service$270,425
    Coal & Uranium Program$250,000
    Water Storage Special Revenue Account$150,000
    Public Buildings$13,957
    School of Mines$0
    Pine Hills School$2,966
    Montana State University Morrill$7,186
    University of Montana$960
    State Normal School$5,047
    Agricultural Experiment Station$12,204
    School for Deaf and Blind$16,486
    Department of Transportation$1,270
    Department of Natural Resources Conservation - Water Resources Division$134,918
    Montana State University 2nd Grant$8
    Veterans Home Income$1,224
    Department of Fish, Wildlife, & Parks$0
    Galen State Hospital$0

    State governance

    The state of Montana participated in additional reporting about state and local natural resource governance, revenues, and disbursements.

    State agencies

    The state of Montana regulates extraction and interacts with extractive industry companies in Montana, particularly when they're operating on state or private land.

    The Montana Department of Revenue collects, manages, and distributes revenue from companies engaged in extraction of oil, natural gas, coal, and nonenergy minerals in Montana. It publishes biennial reports and other tax related reports. County governments also collect many property taxes.

    The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation manages Montana's natural resources, including administering state trust lands and distributing revenue from state trust lands.

    The Montana Department of Environmental Quality leads Montana's planning, permitting, compliance, enforcement, and remediation efforts for projects and incidents related to air, water, land, and energy.

    • The Air, Energy, and Mining Division is charged with protecting the quality of Montana's air, water, and land. Its responsibilities and roles include:

      • Issuing air quality permits for oil and gas wells
      • Issuing permits and monitoring compliance for projects relating to coal and hardrock mines
      • Determining correct control measures and establishing requirements to ensure compliance with laws and regulations
      • Providing technical assistance in bringing violations back into compliance
      • Preparing enforcement requests for the Enforcement Division
      • Holding and reviewing reclamation bonds for coal and hardrock mining
    • The Waste Management and Remediation Division administers and oversees investigation and cleanup of extraction sites that need remediation, including state and federal superfund sites and Montana’s abandoned mine land projects.

    State laws and regulations

    The Constitution of the State of Montana includes environmental protections, including a right to a “clean and healthful environment,” and provisions for environmental protection, improvement, and reclamation.

    The Montana Code Annotated (MCA) has several sections that govern natural resource extraction:

    • Title 82: Minerals, Oil, and Gas includes statutes related to minerals, oil, and gas.
    • Title 15: Taxation covers taxation. See chapters 35 (Coal Severance), 36 (Oil & Gas Production Tax), 37 (Mining License Taxes), and 38 (RIGWAT Tax).
    • Title 77: State Lands covers state lands. See Chapter 3 (Rock, Mineral, Coal, Oil, and Gas Resources).
    • The Montana Environmental Policy Act (MCA §75-1-101, et seq.) aims to ensure environmental impacts are considered in state planning (including environmental impact statements).
    • The Clean Air Act of Montana (MCA § 75-2-101, et seq.) seeks to “achieve and maintain levels of air quality that will protect human health and safety and, to the greatest degree possible, prevent injury to plant and animal life.”
    • The Water Quality Act (MCA §75-5-101, et seq.) aims to "conserve water by protecting, maintaining, and improving the quality of water" throughout the state and to "provide a comprehensive program for the prevention, abatement, and control of water pollution."
    • The Montana Metal Mine Reclamation Act (MCA §82-4-301, et seq.) provides for reclamation of hard rock and metal mines.

    The Administrative Rules of Montana also regulate natural resource extraction:

    • Title 36: Natural Resources and Conservation covers the Department of Natural Resources & Conservation. See chapters 19 (Reclamation and Development Grants Program), 22 (Board of Oil & Gas Conservation), and 25 (State Land Leasing).
    • Title 17 Environmental Quality covers the Department of Environmental Quality. See chapters 8 (Air Quality), 24 (Reclamation), and 30 (Water Quality).

    Fiscal costs of extractive activity

    In addition to generating revenue and economic activity, extractive industries can bring costs to state and local communities. In Montana, these costs are concentrated in eastern Montana because of extraction from the Bakken Formation in Montana and neighboring North Dakota. For more extractive industries' effect on this region, see the Eastern Montana Impact Coalition's Regional Impact Analysis (PDF).

    Transportation costs

    The Montana Department of Transportation estimates an additional $52 million per year in increased pavement needs for highways in eastern Montana because of extractive industry activity. Local governments in eastern Montana also saw increases in budgets for streets and roads increase 44% to 345% from 2000 to 2013.

    To read more, see the Montana Department of Transportation report (PDF) on efforts to respond to impacts on the state highway system from oil exploration and production in eastern Montana.

    Water costs

    Surveyed communities in eastern Montana reported that water rates increased an average of 86.4% from 2011 to 2014 and sewage rates increased 302.9%. The Eastern Montana Impact Coalition also estimates that $33.8 million to $80.6 million will be needed for incremental improvements to support growing demand on water, sewage, and transportation systems. These figures don’t include large projects.

    The Department of Environmental Quality plans, monitors, assesses, and enforces water quality in Montana. It performs targeted water quality monitoring related to oil and gas development in eastern Montana and coal mining near Lake Koocanusa, runs the Montana Ground Water Pollution Control System and its permitting process, and produces Clean Water Act Integrated Reports.

    Emergency services

    Increased population near extraction can increase demands on emergency services. Law enforcement at multiple jurisdictional levels in eastern Montana have seen costs rise related to increases in oil and gas activity.

    The State Highway Patrol added a new detachment in eastern Montana, county sheriffs' offices have seen costs rise $13.4 million, and surveyed police departments have seen an average budget increase of 128.9% between 2000 and 2013. Surveyed local governments also reported an average increase of 169.2% in emergency spending from 2000 to 2013.

    Reclamation costs

    Montana has been “certified” by the federal Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation program, meaning that it has reclaimed its identified high-priority abandoned coal mine areas. Current projects include addressing acid mine drainage in the Great Falls coal field, which is projected to cost $96 million, and managing subsidence events and potential subsidence in Red Lodge.

    To learn more, find Annual Evaluation Reports for Montana in the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Oversight Document Database or learn about the bonding of active mines in the Coal Program Annual Report.

    The Conservation and Resource Development Division of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation runs the Reclamation and Development Grants Program to fund projects that “compensate Montana citizens for the effects of exploration and mining on Montana lands.”

    The Montana Department of Justice Natural Resources Damage Program administers grants for the restoration of the Upper Clark Fork River Basin’s natural resources “due to mining and mineral processing operations.” Between 2000 and 2011, the governor approved 121 projects totaling $122.5 million.