- 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
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Tag Archives: Montana Supreme Court
All briefs filed in Silvertip Zone case; Montana Supreme Court ruling is next
All briefs have now been filed in the Carbon County case before the Montana Supreme Court. In the case, Belfry landowners have challenged the Carbon County Commission’s rejection of their petition for land use regulations to protect their private properties from the harmful effects of oil and gas drilling.
The Supreme Court has previously agreed to review the case. The Court will now decide whether to schedule a hearing or make a decision after reviewing the briefs.
This case is important because Montana law affords few protections to landowners against damages that can occur when oil and gas activity takes place near their homes. Citizen initiated zoning (CIZ) is one of the few opportunities Montana citizens have to establish local regulations to protect their properties. It has been used effectively in places like Bozeman and Great Falls to establish regulations to protect citizens.
Yet that process is badly flawed. The Silvertip zoning case currently before the Supreme Court exposes some of the problems with the process. Silvertip landowners worked to meet all CIZ requirements. Their petitions were accepted by the Carbon County Commissioners, who then made the decision, after multiple public hearings, that the zone was “in the public interest and convenience,” as required by law.
Subsequent events that led the Commissioners to reverse their decision exposed some significant ambiguities in the process that will affect landowners in other counties. Cases like the current one can help to make the CIZ process more clearly defined in law so that the Silvertip landowners, as well as landowners in other communities, can take advantage of CIZ provisions to protect their properties.
To read more about the case and review briefs that have been filed, click the link. Continue reading
Montana Supreme Court agrees to hear Silvertip zoning case
We’ve often said that the road to progress on oil and gas issues is long, so it’s nice to get small victories along the way.
The Montana Supreme Court this month denied a motion to dismiss the Silvertip zoning case by the Carbon County Commission. The decision allows the case to continue and be heard by the Supreme Court in early 2016.
For more information and access to documents related to the case, click the link. Continue reading
Guest editorial by Bonnie Martinell: “Protecting property rights in Montana: You have to do it yourself.”
The following guest editorial by Bonnie Martinell will appear in the Billings Gazette on Tuesday, August 25. It concerns the failure of Montana government agencies to protect landowner property rights, and the efforts of a group of Belfry landowners to secure those rights in the Montana Supreme Court. Continue reading
Oil and gas: 10 lessons for 2015
2014 was a tumultuous year along the Beartooth Front. It began with our communities reeling from an announcement by Energy Corporation of America that the company planned to bring “a little bit of the Bakken” here, a quick drilling permit … Continue reading
Lawrence VanDyke resurfaces in Nevada, and reminder to attend key meetings this week
One more election follow up: Lawrence VanDyke, the Montana Solicitor General who opposed Montana Supreme Court Justice Mike Wheat in last month’s election, has left the state and resurfaced as the new Nevada Solicitor General. You’ll recall that VanDyke, who … Continue reading
Outside corporate interests are trying to shift the balance of the Montana Supreme Court. What it means for oil drilling along the Beartooth Front.
A political action committee funded by corporate interests from outside Montana is trying to shift the balance of the Montana Supreme Court. The goal is to drive an agenda that endangers the property rights of local citizens, and their ability … Continue reading