Action update: Tell the DNRC about ECA illegal water use in Belfry

This is an update to Monday’s post about activity at the ECA well in Belfry.

Update Wednesday: Illegal water theft has been stopped!

We told you that ECA is drawing water out of a gravel pit on a neighboring property, which is not covered by the permit.

Yesterday local residents and members of Carbon County Resource Council filed a complaint to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) to request that the agency investigate and stop the illegal taking of water.

Please support these local farmers by telling the DNRC that ECA’s water use at the Belfry well needs to be investigated. Stealing water is wrong and cannot be ignored.

You can support this protest by contacting the Regional Director of the DNRC Billings office as soon as you can.

Kim Overcast
406-247-4422
kovercast@mt.gov

Kim’s message machine says she is out of the office until May 21. Make sure she has plenty to listen to when she returns.

Please support the fight against irresponsible drilling.

Update May 21, 11:48am

According to Ed Kemmick at Last Best News, ECA has issued the following statement:

“Energy Corporation of America (ECA) is working with a local vendor to purchase water for our operations.  It is our understanding that this particular vendor has an agreement directly with a surface owner in the area who has a gravel pit on his property that has filled with water.  Under their agreement, the vendor draws water from this gravel pit, which he then transports and ultimately sells to ECA.

“It is important to note that the location in question is simply a gravel pit that has filled with water.  There are no surface streams or other water sources running into or out of the gravel pit.

“We have discussed this situation with our counsel and he has advised us that we have taken all necessary steps to appropriately and lawfully utilize the water being drawn from the gravel pit.  Therefore, we believe we are in full accordance with the law and, as we strive to with all of our operations, we are operating responsibly — utilizing local vendors and working hard to be a good neighbor.”

I’m not a lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt, but let me provide my interpretation: “We signed an agreement with a local trucker, and we have no idea what his agreement is with the local landowner. We think we’re protected because our agreement with the local trucker protects us from liability.”

Here’s a photo of water being taken form the pit by two tankers at the site. Click to enlarge.

Illegal water taking Belfry

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
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8 Responses to Action update: Tell the DNRC about ECA illegal water use in Belfry

  1. Megan says:

    We must stop and plan how to safely and responsibly drill for oil and gas in this pristine environment, right next to the world’s first national park. A monument to places just like Belfry and Red Lodge and Bear creek. We must not allow the dollar signs of mineral rights to cloud the sound judgement of legality in oil field work. We need a plan to preserve water resources and environments surrounding these drilling sites and the roads leading to and from them. The community cares about this special place and we will not let big money ignore not only our voices but our rights.

    Please look into ECA’s practices and ban fracking in Stillwater and Carbon counties!

  2. Marlene says:

    Being illegal…why not stop them and fine them….where is the law for all of this….

  3. davidjkatz says:

    A complaint has been filed with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. One of the big issues we cover in this blog is that the state of Montana provides very little protection against uncontrolled mineral extraction. Laws protect the drilling companies at the expense of local citizens.

    That is why we are asking people to contact the DNRC to get them to investigate.

  4. Thank you David for bringing all of this to our attention. The sheeple have been asleep for too long!

    • davidjkatz says:

      I think you’ll be surprised by how many people are working to keep the Beartooth Front from being overrun.

      Keep watching — good stuff is going to happen.

  5. Pingback: Milestone: Preserve the Beartooth Front passes 100,000 hits | Preserve the Beartooth Front

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