Letter: Give neighbors notice before drilling – Billings Gazette, Feb. 5, 2017

February 7, 2017

Categories: Landowner Rights, Legislature, Letters, News, Northern Plains Resource Council, Oil and gas

I thank the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation for passing a drilling notification rule in December 2016. After almost two years of debate over notification, the board approved a rule requiring owners of occupied structures within 1,320 feet of a new gas or oil well to be notified of new drilling operations before these operations are permitted. This gives affected residents a chance to voice their support or concerns about the proposed development.

Now Sen. Richmond has introduced a bill in the Montana legislature that would undermine the BOGC’s notification rule (SB 93). SB 93 would only notify residents within 660 feet of new drilling and exclude hospitals and schools from being notified. Why would you want to exclude these important entities from the discussion? The students at Midwest School in Wyoming have had health issues and a year of being bussed to a Casper school because of a leaking well near their school.

Maybe oil and gas wells shouldn’t be allowed next to these facilities, but let’s at least let them be informed on what is happening in their neighborhood. Sen. Richmond was the former BOGC administrator before becoming a Billings legislator. Would he have liked the legislature interfering with a BOGC decision when he was the administrator? Who’s he representing anyway? Please tell him and your legislator to vote no on SB93.

Terry Punt
Northern Plains Resource Council
Oil and Gas Task Force

220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154