Tag Archives: setbacks

Action Alert: Prevent the Montana Senate from taking landowner rights

A bill currently being considered in the Montana State Senate significantly reduces landowner rights in protecting property from damage from oil drilling on or near occupied buildings. SB93, currently before the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, would reduce notification requirements approved last year by the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (BOGC). Those regulations require oil and gas operators to notify owners of “occupied structures” within a quarter mile of a well before drilling.

The BOGC rule, passed last December, was the result of a 20-month process involving Montana environmental groups, with input from the Montana Petroleum Association. The process grew out of the Legislature’s rejection in the 2015 session of SB177, which would have established a 1000 foot minimum buffer zone, or setback, between wellheads and a home, water well, or surface water. The bill did not make it out of committee.

Following the failure of the bill, Northern Plains Resource Council and others petitioned the BOGC to establish minimum setbacks to protect landowners. After 20 months of hearings, testimony by landowners, and committee meetings, the BOGC passed its new rule last December. The rule requires notification in advance of drilling to any landowner within a quarter mile of a wellhead.

To find out what you can do to keep this bill from passing, follow the link. Continue reading

Posted in Fracking Information, Politics and History | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

New study links fracking to migraines, fatigue, sinus problems

New research suggests that Pennsylvania residents with the highest exposure to active wells are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a combination of migraine headaches, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms and severe fatigue.

The research reminds us that Montana is one of the few oil and gas producing states with no mandated minimum distances, or setbacks, between wellheads and occupied buildings. The Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation recently considered the issue of setbacks, but decided to require only notification of residents when a well is about to be drilled nearby. Carbon County recently became the first county in Montana to pass a county-wide setback restriction as part of the County’s growth plan revision.

This study is part of a growing body of evidence that oil and gas drilling has substantial negative impacts on human health. Montana remains woefully behind in protecting its residents from these health effects. Continue reading

Posted in Health impacts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Carbon County letter writer misuses information to make false arguments

I want to call your attention to a letter to the editor published in last week’s Carbon County News. It’s a great example of how people can completely misuse information to make false arguments.

The author’s main point is that a person who advocated against fracking two years ago, and who later had to be rescued after he was injured on the Beartooth Plateau, owes his survival to the fossil fuel industry.

I’m not making this up.

This is a frequent refuge for those who believe that communities should do the bidding of oil and gas operators. I get a lot of comments on this site that go something like this, “If you hate oil and gas so much, you should stop driving a car,” or, “If you really believe the things you write, you should stop using all petroleum products.”

Reasonable people don’t waste time making false arguments. They work together as community to do the right thing.

To read more about this letter, click the link. Continue reading

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A new study says drilling is happening too close to homes; the Montana Board of Oil and Gas doesn’t care

A new peer-reviewed study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that setbacks — the minimum allowable distance between a well and occupied residences, schools, or hospitals — are too close to peoples’ homes. According to the study, the current setbacks in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Texas leave residents vulnerable to explosions from well blowouts and to air pollution generated at wells “above health-based risk levels.”

Pennsylvania’s minimum setback is 500 feet from any occupied building. Texas’ is 200 feet; Colorado’s is 500 to 1,000 feet.

Montana is one of the few oil and gas states without any setback rules. Last summer the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation, at the urging of Northern Plains Resource Council and others, took up the issue of rulemaking for setbacks. After hearing from many residents regarding the need for minimum setbacks, the BOGC decided not to take up rulemaking, but to form a subcommittee to consider the issue.

The subcommittee has now done its work, You won’t believe what they came up with. Click to find out. Continue reading

Posted in Health impacts | Tagged , | 5 Comments

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

Posted in Community Organization, Politics and History | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Time for the Montana Board of Oil and Gas to step forward on setbacks

The Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (BOGC) will take up the issue of whether to begin rulemaking on establishing oil and gas setbacks — the minimum distance between oil and gas wells and homes or other occupied buildings … Continue reading

Posted in Community Organization, Politics and History | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Billings Gazette Editorial: Landowners deserve protection before drilling starts

Published January 29, 2015 Most Montanans support responsible energy development, valuing clean air, water and land as well as the oil and gas that powers our travel and heats our homes. Where we often disagree is on the definition of … Continue reading

Posted in Community Organization, Politics and History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments