I got my membership packet from the Northern Plains Resource Council. I guess my membership in the Carbon County Resource Council gets me membership in the umbrella organization as well.
It’s a very impressive packet, which comes with the quarterly newspaper, full of information about important conservation topics and other issues. Here’s what I’ve got to report:
- The annual meeting of the NPRC is in Billings at the Crowne Plaza on November 15-16.
- Friday, November 15, 1:30 – 5:00, General Meeting. No charge. This is where they consider resolutions from the membership about strategic initiatives
- Saturday monrning, 8:30 – 10:00, $10 for Sat. morning meetings. “The Next 20 years: Montana’s Water in the Era of Oil and Gas Development.” This seems like the highlight related to the fracking issue.
- Lots of other good stuff, including a cowboy dinner on Friday.
- Something for all to do: the Water Resources Division of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is required by the Montana Legislature to do a 20-year update to the Montana State Water Plan. They are seeking public input. For the Yellowstone Basin, send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Key points to make:
- Oil and gas development uses large amounts of fresh water. However, there is no signle state agency that documents the amount of water used and lost to the system by oil and gas development. Without this oversight, water resources for agriculture and recreation will likely be depleted.
- The State of Montana is currently promoting water marketing without truly gauging how much water is available. The 2013 Legislature enacted a law that would incentivize leasing any excess wather that rights holders have. This will reduce the water supply by an unknown amount, potentially disastrously.
- This is a big one: the state has regulations that provide for minimal chemical disclosure, However, most of the chemicals used in oil and gas drilling are still kept secret. This makes it hard to do any accurate baseline water testing, increasing the risk that the runoff from fracking will harm the soil and water table.
- Write today.
- You really should join the Northern Plains Resource Council through the Carbon County Resource Council or the Stillwater Protective Association. They are very dependent on memberships for their operations. There is an option to do a monthly payment of about $3.50, deducted from your bank account. To set this up, call Caleb (no last name, like Madonna) at 406-248-1154.
- If you haven’t signed the petition yet, please do it, and get your friends to sign as well. They’ve got about 1300 signatures so far, which seems like a lot fewer than will be required to hold off a billion dollar drilling operation.