The article contends that the lawsuit could have broad applicability in Shields Valley
and across the state as oil development expands. Shields Valley is expecting a large influx of oil companies to move in as the state begins auctioning mineral rights in the area. Companies could then begin exploring for oil, gas or coal.
Lundquist interviewed former Bozeman resident Bonnie Martinellii, who raises organic fruits and vegetables less than two miles from the proposed Belfry well:
She said no similar fruit farm exists for 500 miles because only three parts of the state have the right climate conditions.
Martinell didn’t learn about the exploratory well until November. Now she and other area farmers are worried about the future of their property and livelihood.
“We get only 2 inches of rain a year, so we rely on irrigation and well water. It’s scary when you look at how much water is used by fracking wells and the potential for having our groundwater ruined,” Martinell said. “This is a huge farming community and most are against this. We’d at least like to have some baseline water testing.”
According to Martinelli, ECA has not yet begun exploration. They have about two weeks left in the 45 days granted by the permit.