Montana Petroleum Association names former senator Alan Olson as executive director

In a move that exemplifies how cozy the oil and gas industry is with the state legislature, the Montana Petroleum Association (MPA) has named Alan Olson, a Havre native, to replace Dave Galt as its executive director.

Alan Olson

Alan Olson

Olson served two terms as a state senator and four terms as a representative. Most recently, he was chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

According to the Havre Daily News, Olson has been in the petroleum industry for 38 years. He started his career with Halliburton Corporation in Havre and was transferred to Glendive and later Roundup. Olson left Halliburton in 1989 and went to work for the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation as a field inspector, a position he maintained for 19 years. For the last seven years he has worked for Sanjel Corp, an energy services company covering Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming.

The MPA is the leading advocate for the state’s oil and gas industry.

Olson’s appointment is a classic example of “revolving door” politics, in which industry hires people out of government to gain personal access to government officials; seek favorable legislation, regulation and government contracts; as well as get inside information on what is going on in government.

Olson retired from the legislature in 2013, which means he complies with Montana state law, which prohibits lobbying by an individual within 24 months of serving as a state legislator. But there is no question that his legislative contacts are key to his value to the MPA.

His agenda is clear:

“Federal, EPA and BLM rules are doing everything they can to stifle oil and gas development,” Olson said.

“A year from now, we’ll have a new president and we’ll have to see what will happen. The state elections will also have an effect on drilling in the state, but I’m not going to make any predictions on how that will come out,”

Olson will undoubtedly be active in the legislature, which failed to pass any citizen protections against oil and gas drilling in its 2015 session.

Local citizens take note. Protections will come from local zoning, not from the cozy relationship between the MPA and the legislature.

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
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3 Responses to Montana Petroleum Association names former senator Alan Olson as executive director

  1. Lt. Col (Ret) Rich Liebert says:

    Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Senator Olson ‘knows the ropes’ folks and recall he was also an inspector for BOAG before going into private industry and now back around to ‘ride shotgun’ for oil and gas, and particularly for the next session

  2. Lt. Col (Ret) Rich Liebert says:

    Folks out there in counties with NO planning and zoning, ya’ll better get with it as you can easily see how Texas, others state and eastern MT have been devastated and in Cascade County I was in same room with Dave Galt before the county commissioners to insure ALL oil and gas development (an industrial activity!) was scrutinized for a SPECIAL USE PERMIT and we also wrote provisions in the zoning code for man-camps, etc. We can learn from the ‘fighting’ citizens of Denton, Texas who got a ban passed on new ‘fracking’ IN the city of Denton where they already had TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY ONE WELLS, many closer than 200 feet to their homes, schools and businesses!

  3. Pingback: Action Alert: Prevent the Montana Senate from taking landowner rights | Preserve the Beartooth Front

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