• Hillary Stevenson, from Genscape U.S. shale producers may begin producing less as crude prices drop to five-year lows – with some North Dakota Bakken operators already treading water – as rig counts nationwide are poised to decrease by nearly 600 in the next six months, according to Genscape. U.S. oil rigs will fall below 1,100 for the first time in three years,
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  • by Evelyn Pyburn   For 27 years, a company in Forsyth has been manufacturing and marketing its product to the world proving, that "so long as you have UPS, the internet and a good product, it is possible to do business in a small town in Montana." There haven't been many drawbacks to building a business in Forsyth, said Celeste
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  • Billings and Yellowstone County will have to find living space for 70,000 people in the next 20 years. That's how much the largest community in Montana is projected to grow, according to Candi Millar, Director of the City County Planning Department, who is overseeing the development of an update to Yellowstone County's Growth Policy, which is a master plan of
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  • As North Dakota crude prices decline – latest prices are averaging $48 a barrel – there will be new pressure by producers to get better rates on rail shipping, which has varied from $9 to $15 a barrel. "Rail rates should come down especially since the fuel surcharge is off," said Houston analyst Andy Lipow. "The main effect will be from the
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  • Environmental groups are expected to be disappointed with a coming Environmental Protection Agency regulation for coal ash, a waste produced when coal is burned for electricity and which is used in many building materials. The EPA appears poised to label the ash a solid waste, rather than "hazardous," in the new rule. Environmental groups have pushed for the more stringent
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  • Passing state legislation to allow local option tax authority is the Billings Chamber's number one priority. The Chamber supports local option taxing authority as a mechanism for augmenting current revenues for municipalities. A "local option tax" is a local sales tax on goods and services.
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  • While it may be no surprise to locals, Billings is among the ten best beer cities in the US. Billings was ranked in tenth place by Livability, a company that explores what makes small to medium sized cities great places to live. The top beer town is Bend, Oregon. "Billings offers innovative and award-winning breweries, residents who consume beer at
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  • The Magic City Blues will be held a week earlier this year. After 14 years of holding the popular event the first weekend of August, the dates are being moved forward one week to July 31 – August 2 in 2015, according to Tim Goodrich, Magic City Blues owner and founder. Otherwise the venue will remain the same as last summer,
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  • The Billings Chamber of Commerce and the Big Sky Economic Development Authority are in support of 16 eastern Montana counties requesting $90 million from state funds to begin the repairs needed to eastern Montana Infrastructure. In a press release the Chamber said it recognizes that the Bakken Oil Boom can only continue for Montana as long as our communities can
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  • Dynamics on the energy front are quickly changing and Montana is playing a significant role, as well as being significantly impacted. What that means to our economy will be the feature of the 2015 Economic Outlook Seminar, which will be held in Billings on February 3."Nothing less than a revolution has taken place in the way we produce, market, and
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  •   Some North Dakota Bakken-by-rail players - already facing narrow arbitrage margins - may take another hit to the pocketbook this spring from adding costs to remove light hydrocarbons from the crude before loading it onto trains. Oil companies have until April 1, 2015 to begin extracting light hydrocarbons or natural gas liquids from Bakken crude before shipping, according to the North
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  • Montana's beer and wine distributors are major contributors to the economy, with impacts throughout the state and across industry sectors, reports the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Because of the operations of the Montana Beer and Wine Distributors Association, Montana's economy is larger, more prosperous and more populous, write Colin Sorenson and Patrick Barkey in the most recent issue
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The Montana Land Board holdings generated almost $120 million for Montana public schools over the past year.

The Board manages more than 5 million acres of land, and a slightly larger area in mineral rights. The board is run by the five statewide elected officials, including the governor, attorney general, state superintendent of schools, state treasurer and secretary.

 

The land is held in trust to fund schools in the state. Annual revenues have increased from about $80 million in 2004.

The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation said the holdings are now worth roughly $2.6 billion. It said the value of its agricultural land has been increasing in recent years.

About 8 percent of state school budgets come from the land trust.

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