HB 498 by Rep. Steve Gunderson (R-Libby) would further limit the ability of local governments to enact common-sense zoning and land use planning regulations to protect their communities from oil and gas development. Specifically, the bill would mandates that local regulations cannot “prevent the complete use, development, or recovery of any mineral that is under the jurisdiction of the board of oil and gas conservation.” Local communities in Montana have adopted (or want to adopt) regulations to protect their water quality, wildlife, and way of life, from unregulated oil and gas development. This bill would upend that process and call into question any regulation that attempts to put reasonable conditions on oil and gas development.
This bill is scheduled for a hearing and vote on the House Floor on 3/1.
Derf Johnson, djohnson[@]meic.org