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The Stillwater County Commissioners have retained a high-priced out-of-state law firm to defend a lawsuit filed against them by Beartooth Front landowners. Over 60% of the landowners in the area have petitioned the County to set up a citizen-initiated zone to regulate oil and gas drilling, in accordance with Montana law.
Why would they hire a firm from out of state? And why would they hire a firm with rates much higher than would be charged by an expert Montana firm? It’s impossible to tell for sure. There has been no public notice of any contractual relationship with an outside firm. A look at recent Commissioner agendas and meeting minutes makes no mention of a contract.
But a look at the facts shows that the Commissioners have gone out of their way not only to deprive local landowners of their rights, but to establish a precedent that will end citizen-initiated zoning in Montana. In doing so they will pave the way for the oil and gas industry to operate without regard for local communities. This agenda dovetails perfectly with the national agenda of the oil and gas industry.
To find out more about this law firm, click the link. Continue reading
Beartooth Front zone update: Stillwater Commissioners turn their backs on locals who pay their salaries; support unknown outsiders
A portion of this post will appear in the Opinion section of the Stillwater County News on Thursday, February 1.
By rejecting a petition of over 550 landowners to establish the Beartooth Front Zoning District, the Stillwater Commissioners this week, after three years of inaction, delays, and excuses, have decided to turn their backs on the people who pay their salaries to stand up for unknown outside interests.
To do this they had to make up new law that has never been used in a single one of the 111 existing citizen initiated zones that have been established in Montana over the last 65 years.
It’s hard to imagine why they would want to spend precious County resources to defend this fantasy law in court against local landowners who have spent three years coming up with a plan that has received the overwhelming support of their neighbors. But that’s what they’re going to have to do unless they come to their senses pretty quickly.
To find out more, and to learn what you can do to help, click the link. Continue reading
Oil and gas drilling in Montana is fundamentally unfair to landowners. Because of the way the law and institutions are structured, landowners have few rights, and the deck is stacked unfairly in favor of those who profit from oil and gas … Continue reading