The Roundup -

Beartooth Front Residents Don't Want Another Bakken


More than 850 people have already signed a petition against plans announced Thursday by Energy Corporation of America to develop oil and gas leases around Roscoe, Red Lodge, and the Big Horn Basin of Montana and Wyoming.

Northern Plains Resource Council and its affiliate Carbon County Resource Council are poised to resist the drilling plans developers say would have the impacts of the Bakken oil field in North Dakota and Montana and “fundamentally change these areas the way it has changed other areas of the United States.”

Many residents along the Beartooth Front from Red Lodge to Roscoe and Dean live there because of the existing agriculture, seclusion, beauty, and recreational opportunities.

“What makes us rich in this area is clean water, clear air, and safe communities,” said Deborah Muth, Chair of the Carbon County Resource Council. “Turning the Beartooth Front into another Bakken is like killing the goose that lays the golden egg. If we trash nature we trash ourselves. Our clean and abundant water sources should not be sold to the highest bidder -- it belongs to the people.”

Already oil tank trucks have been seen driving through Red Lodge late at night and hauling crude from exploratory wells near Roscoe and Dean on the area’s rural, often narrow, two-lane roads. Northern Plains and CCRC have received many inquiries since the announcement and are organizing landowners in the area to oppose oil and gas development.

“Northern Plains and its affiliates are gearing up to tackle this issue head on -- we’re circulating a petition which has already gone viral, we are researching the situation, we’ll raise money, we’ll hire lawyers -- we’ll do what needs to be done to protect our water,” said Muth.

Carbon County Resource Council is based in Red Lodge and active in local issues such as fighting gravel pits in watersheds, and encouraging energy efficiency in homes and sustainable energy sources such as rooftop solar and wind. Northern Plains, a Billings-based family agriculture and conservation group, has been organizing citizens to protect Montana’s water quality, family farms and ranches, and unique quality of life since 1972.


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