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’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.