The 2016 annual meeting of the Montana Petroleum Association (MPA) will take place in Billings August 30th and 31st at the DoubleTree Hotel, formerly the Crowne Plaza.

Event highlights include special guest, Congressman Ryan Zinke to speak Tuesday night at Pryor Creek Golf Course during the MPA barbeque. Recent past speakers include former Lt. Governor Angela McLean and Attorney General Tim Fox.

On Wednesday, the morning will commence at the DoubleTree with breakfast speaker Paul Babb of Butte, Community Relations Manager for NorthWestern Energy. Babb is a current member of the REAL Montana Program, a public-private partnership through the MSU Extension office, engaged in educating leaders of Montana on agriculture and natural resource development industries and issues. His presentation will be focused on the importance of “Telling the Story of Our Employees”.

The general meeting of MPA will follow, ahead of three panels which will address subjects including landowner relations, community engagement, methane rules, federal proposals, and collaboration with local government.

mpa_alan-olson“This year, we wanted to tailor our meeting to address Montana-specific issues that appeal to both industry and the general public,” said Alan Olson, Executive Director of MPA. “We’re hosting a good mix of industry experts and the regulators we work with on each of our panels.” (Olson, pictured right with MPA President, Greg Brown, CHS Refinery).

Panelists include Jack King of Billings, longtime landman and former commissioner with the Board of Oil and Gas Conservation; Steve Durrett, current BOGC member and President of August Energy Partners; recent past president of the Montana Association of Professional Landmen, Nicole Bement of Sidney, now with XTO. Each panelist will address how industry can balance public concerns with oil and gas operations by improving communication.

On the Community Engagement panel, speakers will discuss how oil and gas businesses are preparing the next generation of industry leaders, and making lasting investments in the community. Panelists will be Dan Carter, Public and Government Affairs Manager at ExxonMobil; Danette Welsh, Government Affairs Manager at ONEOK, representing the midstream; and Shawna Bonini, Montana Tech grad and past president with the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and former Drilling Engineer for Chevron, and SM Energy in Billings.

A final panel on industry topics will address issues facing the oil and gas sector at the state and federal level, including hotly contested methane rules. Speakers include Tony Lucero, Lead of Regulatory Programs at Enerplus Resources; Karl Christians, Conservation District Specialist, DNRC; and Brian Fakharzadeh, VP of Development and Operations at Western Energy Alliance.

Keynote speaker of this year’s Petroleum Industry Appreciation Day luncheon will be author and filmmaker, Mark Mathis. Mathis has spent most of his career challenging widely accepted ideas that are he describes as “simply untrue”. Mathis’s resume includes a decade as a TV news anchor and reporter, talk radio host, media trainer, founder of Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy, speaker and documentary film producer/director.

In his film, spOILed, Mathis highlighted the public’s ignorance of the central role oil plays in our lives. Mark’s new film, Fractured, exposes how language is used to dangerously deceive us about the most essential component to the function of the modern world—energy.

Registration is available online at, and the public is invited to attend. Press requests and additional questions can be directed to Jessica Sena, 590-8675.

Current slate of locations skips coal country altogether

HELENA – Today, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox asked U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to add Montana to the agency’s listening sessions on coal regulations. Yesterday, the EPA began its series of listening sessions scheduled to take place in large urban centers: New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC, Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

“Montanans care about proposed federal regulations impacting their livelihood, their public schools, their utility rates, their communities, and their environment, and they deserve to be heard on this,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “It’s mind boggling that the EPA isn’t holding a single session in a state that relies directly on coal for affordable energy, family-wage jobs, and economic development. It’s as if the regulators don’t want to hear from the hardworking folks who will suffer most under the onerous regulations they’re considering. The EPA needs to come here to Montana – to a place like Colstrip or Billings – and listen to what our citizens have to say.”

The listening sessions are designed to gather public input on the agency’s implementation of Rule 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions from power plants. The proposed regulations are targeted at the very coal-fired power generation that provides Montanans with reliable, affordable electricity. Since Montana has more recoverable coal reserves than any other state, the regulations could be all the more devastating.

“The EPA shouldn’t be afraid of listening to viewpoints they won’t hear in New York City,” Fox said.

In his letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy, Attorney General Fox echoed President Obama and members of his administration in calling for an “all of the above” approach to energy policy. “EPA’s recently announced proposals run contrary to a balanced energy approach,” Fox told McCarthy.

Read Attorney General Fox’s letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy here.

Contact: John Barnes
406-444-2031 |