- Beartooth landowners victorious in lawsuit against Stillwater County
- PLEASE NOTE: Change in Zoom access code for today’s hearing
- Action alert: Watch court hearing on Zoom, Thursday, 2:00 pm
- Action alert: Stillwater County Planning Board meeting, Wed, 9/4, 7pm
- Must attend! Stillwater County Planning Board: Wednesday, August 7, 7pm
Click to see the Preserve the Beartooth Front video
Author Archives: davidjkatz
In a long-awaited decision, District Judge Matthew Wald ruled yesterday in favor of Beartooth Front landowners in their suit against Stillwater County. The landowners are seeking to establish a citizen-initiated zone that would place reasonable regulation on future oil and gas drilling along the Beartooth Front in southern Stillwater County.
Judge Wald granted the landowners’ request for summary judgment against the County, and denied the County’s motion. In doing so, he ruled unambiguously that the County was not justified in requiring the landowners to obtain signatures from minerals owners in addition to surface landowners. His ruling also stated that the County had set up an unworkable method of evaluating the landowners’ petitions that was in violation of the County’s own rules.
IMPORTANT: Stillwater County has made a last minute change in the Zoom access information for today’s 2pm court hearing.
This posts corrects the information, and yesterday’s post has been updated with the correct information. Continue reading
County Commissioners will be held at the County Courthouse in Columbus at2:00 pm on Thursday, May 14.
Because of coronavirus restrictions, the hearing will be held live on Zoom. In person attendance is not allowed.
To access the meeting on Zoom: Continue reading
The September meeting of the Stillwater County Planning Board will be held in Columbus on Wednesday, September 4 at the Stillwater County Pavilion (known as Little Metra) on the County Fairgrounds at 328 E. 5th Avenue North in Columbus.
This meeting will likely be a tough one for us, since we do not have a defined place on the agenda. We presented our draft regulations at the last meeting, and much of this meeting will be devoted to reaction to those regulations. This is why it is important for us to continue to come out in force for these meetings. This will be a long process, and we need to be out in front at every juncture.
Here is how you can be in action: Continue reading
The next meeting of the Stillwater County Planning Board will be held this Wednesday, August 7, at the Stillwater County Pavilion in Columbus at 7pm. Please plan to attend. This is a critical meeting at which the Board will consider a draft set of regulations on a county initiated zone along the Beartooth Front in southern Stillwater County.
It is important for proponents to be in attendance and voice their support. It is expected that there will be opposition to the zone in attendance.
Note that the meeting is at a new location. The Stillwater County Pavilion is at 328 E. 5th Avenue in Columbus.
Click on the link to read the proposed regulations and view a presentation that shows the base standards the landowners are asking for.
Please try to attend if you can. We are at the critical stages of winning approval for this project that landowners have worked toward for six years. We need to show Stillwater County officials that your support for our efforts is unwavering. Continue reading
(Note: The following article appears in the July 11, 2019 edition of the Stillwater County News. It is reprinted here with permission of the Publisher. Subscription normally required to read article. To subscribe, click here.)
“Workable framework” adopted for potential southern county zone
“As Stillwater County is in a state of growth, the commission is looking into any and all options to help protect the county against out of control growth. While this may happen through some sort of zoning, it also may not. The commission’s goal is to welcome growth, but make sure it does not negatively effect the county as a whole.”
-County Commission Chairman Mark Crago
A “workable framework” has been adopted by the Stillwater County Planning Board, the latest action in the yearslong process spearheaded by residents to create a zone in the southern end of the county.
At the July 3 County Planning Board meeting, the Beartooth Front Coalition, a group of citizens from southern Stillwater County, presented a proposal for the creation of a zone that would regulate the surface impacts of oil and gas development.
The County Planning Board is considering the creation of the zone due to a mutual agreement between the Beartooth Front group and the county, who are opposing parties in a lawsuit regarding the invalidation of the group’s petition to create such a zone.
The lawsuit is on hold as the board considers the zone. After much discussion between the public and board members, the proposal was accepted last week by a 5-2 vote of the board and will act as a framework for the future as draft zoning regulations come to the board. Continue reading
There were continued positive developments in June in the Stillwater landowners’ attempts to establish a zoning district that will regulate oil and gas activity in southern Stillwater County. At the June meeting of the Planning Board, the Board voted to … Continue reading
Action alert: New developments in landowner lawsuit against Stillwater County; what you can do to help
A district court hearing in the Beartooth Front landowners’ suit against the Stillwater County Commissioners, originally scheduled for May 23, was postponed by mutual agreement of the parties. The reason for the postponement was a positive development in discussions between the landowners and the Commissioners.
The two sides agreed that the landowners would propose a county-inititiated zone to the Stillwater Planning Commission on June 5. If the Planning Commission recommends forming the zone, which would regulate oil and gas activity along the Beartooth Front, and the Commissioners approve it, the lawsuit would become unnecessary.
If the zone is not formed, the lawsuit will continue.
You can provide critical support by attending the Planning Commission meeting and speaking up to show that residents are behind the landowners’ efforts. Read the post to find out more, and forward this post to others who you think might attend. Continue reading
For the last six years local activists have focused on developing a responsible approach to oil and gas drilling in the rural West — places like Stillwater and Carbon County in Montana. Our argument has been that we need to act in advance of drilling to make sure that we are not overrun by heavy industry that is poorly regulated in Montana. We have struggled to work with local officials, who have not always been responsive to this approach.
Dr. Julia Haggerty, professor of geography at MSU, is an expert in this area. She has done extensive research on the communities of the West and how they respond to change. In her presentation, at the Absarokee Cobblestone School at 7pm on Tuesday, May 21, she will explore, using energy development as her subject, how local rural communities can cope with change that comes in an instant.
Come on out to learn and discuss this important issue with your neighbors.
It’s been cold this week in Montana, with wind chills down to -40°. Cold enough for mail service to be suspended in the eastern part of the state.
Leave it to the President, who has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by China (and worse), to completely misrepresent what this means in public statements and tweets. Trump clearly misunderstands the science behind global warming, and once again makes the classic error of confusing weather and climate.
I was going to explain this myself, but I think these kids do it much more clearly than I possibly could have. From the Jimmy Kimmel show:
Click to watch the video. Continue reading