Planning and Project Grants

The Coal Board awards grants pursuant to 90-6-207, MCA, which provides the priorities for grants to counties, communities, school districts, or other governmental units that, as a result of the impact of coal development, has had or expects to have a net increase or decrease in estimated population.

The Coal Board statutes do not specifically prohibit any type of project from eligibility for Coal Board funds. For any application submitted, the main priority is clearly defining the need represented in the application with the impact that coal development/consumption has in the community represented by the applicant.

Eligible Projects

Projects include any governmental services that are needed as a direct consequence of an increase or decrease of coal development or of an increase or decrease in the consumption of coal by a coal-using energy complex 90-6-208, MCA.

Eligible Applicants

Applicants eligible to receive financial assistance:

  • Local governmental units (cities, towns, counties, school districts, water and sewer districts, etc.)
  • State agencies
  • Governing bodies of federally recognized Indian tribes

Under 90-6-209, MCA, a grant to an Indian tribe may not be approved by the Coal Board unless:

(a) the governing body of the tribe has agreed:
(i) to waive its immunity from suit on any issue specifically arising from the transaction of a grant obtained under this part; and
(ii) to the adjudication of any dispute arising out of the grant transaction in the district court of the first judicial district of the state of Montana; and
(b) approval of the transaction has been obtained from the secretary of the United States department of the interior whenever approval is necessary.

Current Coal Board Budget

Current Year Funding Available for Grants as of 5/31/2024 is $919,402.00


Applying for Grants

Applications to be considered at the September 12, 2024 meeting are due July 29, 2024.  Please see the application pdf below for specifics.

To apply for Coal Board Funds, eligible applicants must complete the application and submit the materials on or before the application due date.

Updated Process! Effective immediately, there is a new option to submit your grant application through the Montana Grants and Loans Portal. To submit your application through the new Montana Grants and Loans Portal, use this step-by-step guide

2025 Coal Impact Grant Application and Guidelines - PDF

Montana Coal Board Analysis of Projects and Environmental Review Process Training Video

All Coal Board applicants must submit grant requests using the Coal Board application template. As a reminder the application must include:

  • complete description of the proposed project,
  • project budget including a breakdown of all major project costs, and a description of the proposed source and use of all funds,
  • implementation schedule,
  • documentation of the need for the project relative to the severity of the impact of coal development or decline,
  • documentation of the local effort including millage rates, local financial contribution to the extent possible, or fund-raising efforts,
  • documentation of the applicant's legal and financial ability to undertake and manage the proposed service or facility,
  • documentation of how the request reasonably fits into an overall plan for the orderly management of the existing or contemplated growth or decline problems (90-6-207, MCA); and
  • preliminary engineering report (if applicable)

The Coal Board members are supplied each application, along with a summary prepared by MDOC staff, prior to the Quarterly Meeting. The applicant makes a formal presentation to the board at the Quarterly Meeting. Additionally, with each presentation, there will be an opportunity for public comment.

The Board takes official action on each proposal, either approving, denying, or tabling the project at the meeting. The Board may table an application requiring additional information to be submitted.

Note: Significant changes between the written application and the application as presented at the meeting may result in the application being tabled with the request for an amended application for the next meeting.

Technical and procedural assistance regarding application requirements is available from Coal Board administrative staff and Department of Commerce personnel.

Application Process

  1. APPLICATION SUBMISSION: The application process begins with the submittal of an application by the deadline specified for a given Coal Board meeting (45 days prior to the meeting date).

The application includes:

  • Project Description/Summary
  • Preliminary Engineering Report (if applicable)
  • Project Budget
  • Implementation Schedule
  • Legal/Financial Ability to Undertake the Proposal
  • Discussion of Statutory Criteria:
    • Need as a result of coal impacts.
    • Degree of severity of impact from an increase or decrease in coal development or in the Consumption of Coal by a Coal Using Energy Complex
    • Availability of Funds
    • Degree of Local Effort in Meeting Needs
    • Planning and Management
  1. BOARD OFFICER: Compiles comments & materials submitted by the Applicant for distribution to Board members
  2. FORMAL PRESENTATION: Applicant makes presentation to the Coal Board at Board Meeting
  3. BOARD ACTION: Official Action by Coal Board may include:
  • Approved. If approved for funding, the Coal Board sets the grant amount and the contract is prepared and executed by Department of Commerce staff.
  • Tabled. If an application is tabled, the applicant may submit additional information for the Board's consideration at a subsequent meeting.
  • Denied

Coal Board funds for reimbursing eligible expenditures are not available until all grant start-up requirements have been met and a contract with the Coal Board is negotiated and executed.

This contract is the legal document that governs the administration of the grant and includes the following items, some of which may be incorporated from the application:

  • The amount of Coal Board funds to be provided;
  • The scope of work;
  • A preliminary project budget for the use of Coal Board funds and any other funds involved in the project;
  • The preliminary implementation schedule for the project;
  • Any special conditions associated with the grant; and
  • The general terms and conditions associated with the grant.

Project Administration Manual

Project Administration Manual

Commonly Used Forms

Designation of Depository Form

Signature Authorization Form

Draw Request Form (Excel)

Draw Request Instructions

Uniform Status of Funds Form (Excel)

Uniform Invoice Tracking Form (Excel)

Completion Report Form

Please use this Toolkit page to find information regarding common topics and assistance discussed with grantees. If you have questions regarding the Montana Coal Board that are not addressed here, please contact the Montana Coal Board Staff.

Sample Resolution - Categorical Exclusion (Word)

Sample Resolution - Environmental Assessment (Word)

Sample Environmental Questions 

Completion Report 

Designation of Deposit 

Request for Reimbursement (Excel)

Request for Reimbursement Instructions 

Signature Certification 

Uniform Invoice Tracking (Excel)

Uniform Status of Funds (Excel)