Press release: Landowners demand action against oil driller’s illegal water use – May 21, 2014

May 21, 2014

Categories: Agriculture, Beartooth Front Defense Fund, Landowner Rights, Oil and gas

By Northern Plains Resource Council

Today, local farmers and members of Carbon County Resource Council filed a complaint to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) to report the illegal use of water. This weekend the Energy Corporation of America (ECA) began drilling a controversial oil well three miles northeast of Belfry. Trucks were seen taking water from a nearby gravel pit and delivering it to the ECA drill site. Currently, there is no water right or permit for use of the water in the gravel pit.

Bonnie Martinell, an organic farmer near the well site, took photos of the illegal water use.

web-Belfry-well-gravel-pit-water_2014-05-19“Just as weweb-Belfry-well-setup_2014-05-19 predicted, the company is not following the rules that every other individual must follow,” said Martinell. “The oil and gas industry believes it is exempt from rules. They simply pulled up, and started doing whatever they wanted and are taking water that belongs to all of us.”

The DNRC requires a water right for the use of any new water, and an additional permit for the use of surface water, such as this gravel pit. Taking water from the source until the permit is received is strictly illegal.

“I hope the DNRC will take the appropriate actions to prevent and punish illegal draws of our local water supply,” Martinell added. “As an agricultural community we respect our water rights, and we respect our neighbors. We need to make sure everyone is following the same rules, and that there is enough water for the ECA to be taking this out of our supply.”

Carbon County Resource Council is an affiliate of Northern Plains Resource Council, a Montana grassroots conservation and agricultural organization.

220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
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