The following letter to the editor appeared in the Billings Gazette on Monday, October 19, 2014:
Who watches the Board of Oil and Gas?
Montana is a state of proud tradition. Simple, but important truths. Leave the gate the way you found it. Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting. Take care of your own. So when it comes to understanding why we relinquish so much authority to the Board of Oil and Gas I am a bit confused.
Currently they have no stated plan to regulate hydraulic fracking, no requirements for closed-loop systems to deal with disposal of wastewater and chemicals and the mission is primarily to protect the oil and gas industry. There are only seven inspectors for the entire state. I continue to be surprised at how many folks think “Montana is not going to let our state be damaged like North Dakota” without knowing how lax the Board of Oil and Gas is on development.
One does not need to be against development to want good rules about the use of our land and our resources. Why don’t simple truths apply here? We need to close the gate, fight for our water and take care of our own.