Montana Petroleum Association

Mission Statement

“To maintain a positive business climate for Montana’s petroleum industry, and foster public awareness of its many economic and ecological contributions to the state and nation.”

Summary

The Montana Petroleum Association, Inc. is an industry trade association made up of more than 150 oil and gas companies. The group supports building the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and has called opposition to those pipelines “‘a business.’” The Montana Petroleum Association supports the Trump Administration’s rollback of oil and gas regulations and wants to open wilderness study areas to oil and gas exploration.

Notable Activities & Statements on Public Lands Policy

The Montana Petroleum Association supports building the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and called opposition to those pipelines “‘a business.’”

The Montana Petroleum Association executive director said he was “excited” about the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines because they would “have a tremendous positive effect” on Montana. He said opposition to those pipelines is a “business.”  “Alan Olson, executive director of the Montana Petroleum Association…said…that his organization is excited about both the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipeline announcements Trump made. ‘Privately funded infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines will have a tremendous positive effect on not only the United States, but also for Montana,’ he said. ‘This much-needed energy infrastructure will mean a safer route to markets, new employment possibilities, better prices for Montana crude oil and from the Keystone XL pipeline, additional revenues sources for already stretched thin local and state government in Montana.’ Other measures Trump signed…that talk about streamlining the permit process also pleased Olson.” [Sidney Herald, 02/01/17]

  • The Montana Petroleum Association executive director said opposition to those pipelines is a “business.”  The Montana Petroleum Association’s director, in a 2017 op-ed, wrote, “the business of stopping infrastructure and development projects has become just that; a business. More than an environmental movement, pipeline activism has become an industry of conflict. Built on false narratives, misinformation, and fear-mongering, the conflict industry exists to promote political goals and influence public policy.” He continued, “the choice between renewables and non-renewables is a false choice. A more realistic choice, and one social justice warriors and those swayed by flashy anti-fossil fuel campaigns should consider, is whether we want to import energy from hostile nations, or trusted, North American trade partners.” [Sidney Herald, 08/05/17]

The Montana Petroleum Association supports the Trump Administration’s rollback of oil and gas regulations

The Montana Petroleum Association has praised the rollback of regulations on methane flaring. Jessica Sena of the Montana Petroleum Association, in a column titled, “MPA opposes new flaring rules,” wrote, “exactly a week after Election Day” in 2016, President Obama’s Bureau of Land Management “announced new rules on the venting and flaring of methane gas on federal lands” that “industry groups argue…will place a tremendous economic burden on energy development without any real benefit. […] We need infrastructure to capture and move gas to markets – that means pipelines,’ said Olson. ‘To build pipelines we need a predictable regulatory climate, which is something…[the Obama] Administration has robbed from business owners.’” [Sidney Herald, 11/26/16]

  • “Alan Olson, executive director of the Montana Petroleum Association, said the Trump administration ‘has been one big sigh of relief from the proposed regulatory burdens that were being placed on our industry under the previous administration. […] I think a lot of that can be attributed to the uptick that we’re seeing today in oil and gas activity,’ he said. ‘Regulation will stifle development every bit as much as low prices and in some instances even more. We’ve got people willing to put money into projects today. I think we’ve got a little bit of regulatory certainty that encourages development.’ He praised efforts by the Trump administration to curb new stream protection rules, and beefed up regulations on hydraulic fracturing and methane emissions. Twice as many drilling rigs are operating in the country compared to two years ago, Olson said. Interior Secretary Zinke, Olson said, has been willing to support industry ‘instead of shutting us out.’ He is hopeful that the amount of time it takes to permit wells on federal lands will decrease, and that there will be new opportunities for oil and gas production.” [Great Falls Tribune, 01/28/18]

The Montana Petroleum Association wants to open wilderness study areas to oil and gas exploration.

MPA supports releasing “five wilderness study areas (WSAs) in forests managed by the U.S. Forest Service totaling 449,500 acres” and opening them to resource extraction, including oil and gas exploration. “A bill by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont. would release five wilderness study areas (WSAs) in forests managed by the U.S. Forest Service totaling 449,500 acres, including the 91,000-acre Big Snowies Wilderness Study Area.” This was legislation to “open the WSAs to motorized and mechanical uses that are now off limits or restricted.” MPA Executive Director Alan Olson “said he’s frustrated by how long the WSAs have remained in limbo. ‘If you want to make a wilderness area, make it a wilderness area,’ Olson said. ‘If you are not going to make it a wilderness area, put it back into public use.’ The association supports the WSA-release bill. Some of the WSAs should be open to oil and gas exploration, timber harvesting and more forms of recreation, Olson said.” [Great Falls Tribune, 02/02/18]

Lobbying & Political Contributions

The Montana Petroleum Association has employed the following lobbyists since 2008:

Lobbyist Name Years employed

Alan Olson 2016 – 2018

David Galt 2008 – 2018

Jessica Sena 2014 – 2016

Gail Abercrombie 2008 – 2014

John Alke 2013 – 2014

Lobbying expenditures during the 2017 session

Initial: $4,653.43
Monthly (Mar) $3,276.54
Monthly (Apr) $4,585.27
Year-End $4,016.16
Post-Session $2,733.43
Post-Special $786.14
Year End $1,503.60
Total $21,554.60

Source: Montana Commissioner on Political Practices Lobbyist Reporting 2017-18, accessed 08/25/18

The Montana Petroleum Association lobbied on the following bills in the Montana legislature during the 2017 Session.

SJ17 – Resolution supporting federal land management

HJ9 – Resolution supporting the release of certain wilderness study areas

SB109 – Revise environmental review process to include analysis of impact beyond Montana

SB337 – Eliminate board of environmental review

SB299 – Generally revise hydraulic fracturing disclosure

HB486 – Prohibit pipelines from crossing under streams and lakes

HB384 – Revise oil and gas lease provisions

SB48 – Direct DEQ to assume dredge-and-fill permitting program

SB284 – Generally revise laws related to sage grouse

SB93 – Provide notification at certain dwellings for oil and gas operations

SB273 -Revise civil liability laws related to common carrier pipelines

HB47 – Revise tax laws to adopt federal regulation

SB98 – Establish property ownership fairness act

SB207 – Provide for confidentiality of heritage properties and paleontological remains

SJ10 – Joint resolution regarding the keystone pipeline

HB228 – Provide funding for sage grouse stewardship

Source: Montana Secretary of State

Revenue & Expenditures

Revenue

2016: $387,714

Membership dues: $281,602

Meeting income: $77,007

2015: $412,799

2014: $487,400

2013: $445,026

2012: $416,161

2011: $350,151

Source: MPA Forms 990 2011-16

Expenses

2016: $376,631

Salaries and Wages: $167,555

Conferences/Meetings : $91,171

2015: $418,813

2014: $464,504

2013: $485,565

2012: $401,751

2011: $368,193

Source: MPA Forms 990 2011-16