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The practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, continues to threaten Montana’s air and water.  The chemicals used in the process of fracking for oil and gas can harm ground and surface water quality.

Fortunately, the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (BOGC) has recently initiated a rule-making process that will help to protect water quality and the landowners living next to oil and gas fields. We need you to take action by sending a comment to the BOGC on the rules.

The proposed rule makes some very important changes that will help to protect water quality and adjacent landowners. Most importantly, it revamps the trade secret provisions. Currently companies can claim a trade secret exemption (meaning that there will be no disclosure of the chemicals that are being used in the process) on fracking chemicals, without any evidence or justification. In fact, there is no independent review or analysis of claimed trade secret exemptions to verify their legitimacy. If the proposed rule is adopted, companies would have to submit detailed information to the BOGC to provide justification for the exemption.

As helpful as the proposed rule is, it lacks some very important protections. Most significantly, it does not provide for reasonable notification to adjacent landowners so that they may have their water tested in advance of fracking activities, in order to acquire baseline information. Without that information, there is no way for them to know whether fracking operations have impacted their water quality.

If you’re concerned about public health and water quality in Montana, MEIC urges you to submit comments to the BOGC on the proposed rule. If you want to comment directly, email mtogpub@mt.gov.

If you would like to comment in-person you can attend a hearing on September 17th  at 2:00 PM in Billings at the BOGC office (2535 St. Johns Avenue). For more information, please contact Derf Johnson at djohnson@meic.org.

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