Catching up on some items that have been sent to me and other things I’ve been meaning to post:
- Work has now started on the ECA well in Belfry. A local resident reports, ““I drove up there and sure enough they have staked the pond and have a bulldozer in there. So yes they have started. And the pond is right where I thought it would be.” This obviously lends urgency to our efforts.
- I have a number of new subscribers over the last few weeks, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t make sure you are aware of our great companion Facebook site No Fracking the Beartooth Front. They provide lots of links and commentaries to relevant online information, and they’ve got a lively community of passionate supporters. If you’re a Facebook user, just like them and their updates will appear in your news feed..
- In February I posted a personal story about the long term contamination of a huge aquifer in Poplar, Montana, caused by oil drilling thirty years ago. Now a new report from the US Geological Survey shows that the contamination continues to spread. The federal agency says the issue has led to polluted drinking water for more than 3,000 people, and that it will only get worse over time.
- The Montana Board of Oil and Gas has opened a position for a full-time administrator to replace Tom Richmond, who is running for the Montana State House. Applications close May 16. If you’re knowledgeable about oil and gas issues and have a concern about the plight of ordinary Montanans you should apply. You’d be a big improvement over Richmond.
I have cross-posted by post on the Belfry Well on dailykos to generate more exposure. It is already one of the most viewed posts on the blog, and I hope to use it to raise awareness of our activities. Update, 4/20/14, noon. I made the dailykos recommended list! This will give the post very wide exposure, and give me the opportunity to build a following for other posts that will develop a following. Not sure what to do with this, but it will come in handy in the long run.
- This isn’t the kind of thing I usually post, but a reader sent it along and I thought it was pretty interesting. It provides in unusual detail the story of how a small drilling company from Cut Bank, MT that had never drilled a horizontal well put together an unusual financing package to get into the game in Bakken, and wound up quintupling their business and increasing their company value from $.10 a share to $.65 a share. What was most interesting to me was the huge amount of dollars at stake, the high risk to drilling a single well, and the phenomenal profits available to those who have the wherewithal to play. With this kind of money available, it’s hard for me to believe we can’t invest in preserving land, water and quality of life for people who live in a region that is being drilled.
A couple of events worth noting:
- If you’re in Billings you can support our efforts, enjoy a wide variety of local bands and grab a pint of beer at the Music for the Mountains: Defend the Beartooth Front benefit concert. It’s next Monday, April 28 from 5:30-8pm at the Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company. It’s free and open to the public.
Participating bands include Satsang (pictured at right), Poetic Intelligence, Reid Perry and the Cold City Lights, and Lindsey Jacobsen. Spoken word poet Dave Caserio will perform with musician Alex Nauman. Other poets include Cara Chamberlain, James Hickman, Danell Jones, Doug Oltrogge, Anna Page, and Bernie Quetchenbach.
The musicians approached Northern Plains Resource Council with the idea to “encourage people to come learn more about what is happening in our back yard.”
- Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) is hosting a series of rallies across Montana on Saturday, April 26 to raise the issue of climate change and to pressure public officials and businesses to support proactive and positive solutions to the climate crisis. There are events scheduled all over the state, with the one in Billings scheduled for the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn from noon – 1pm.
Things to look for on the blog this week:
- A personal story about an organic farmer struggling to survive in Ohio
- A guest post by a friend who has been fighting fracking in Pennsylvania for years. The topic will be lessons learned, and I guarantee you’ll find it informative. Don’t miss it.
- A post on the topic of forced pooling, another way in which oil and drilling takes away the property rights of local landowners.
And last, a couple of photos taken by a local reader who spends a lot of time hiking and riding through the area. Sometimes it’s worth remembering what draws us to Montana and what it is that we want to preserve. You can click to see these full sized.