Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Montana initiative leads to stricter oil, gas regulation

Carol Nash and her family have been working the land outside of Belfry, Mont., for about 20 years. When oil and gas development was proposed in the region, she became involved in a countywide initiative to create stricter development regulations. “We are trying to get rules and regulations in place that will protect the landowners, the farmers and the ranchers who can be effected by things in the air, things in the soil and things in the water,” Nash says. “This is where we live. This is where we work and our livelihood depends on all those things being safe.” In its first update since 1989, the Carbon County Commissioners approved a countywide regulation in July following the county’s adoption of an updated growth policy last year. The new regulation gives landowners unprecedented property protections in the face of oil and gas development. Key provisions of the new regulation include:
  • Requires approved site plan prior to the issuance of a conditional use permit, which would require a matter of public record before permit is granted.
  • Provides landowners the right to baseline water testing to be paid for by the driller before drilling begins.
  • Establishes a 750-foot minimum distance (or “setback”) of oil and gas development from dwellings.
  • Ensures dust control on roads used for hauling near drilling sites with mitigation plans approved on a case-by-case basis...more

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