Montana Considers Drilling Buffer

North Dakota Developments, LLC
North Dakota Developments, LLC

Montana’s  Board of Oil and Gas Conservation is considering a proposal that will require buffers zones around homes to protect them from oil and gas drilling.

Related: Dakota Access Pipeline Concerns

The board heard almost two hours of testimony last week from farmers, environmentalists and oil companies who all wanted a say in whether setbacks are necessary. Many raised concerns about wastewater dangers, noise and trash that from active wells pads.

Dale Nelson told local news agency that “The toxic smoke that comes out with a fire, there’s nothing you can do with it,” Nelson said. “Do you want your grandkids around something like that?

The Northern Plains Resource Council is asking for a quarter-mile setback between well pads and inhabited buildings. This is much greater than the 500 feet required by neighboring states of North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado.

Montana joins other local and state agencies faced with figuring out how to regulate drilling activities in light of health and environmental concerns. Recently the EPA released a controversial study saying that hydraulic fracking has very little impact on drinking water resources.

EPA Finds Little Risk to Drinking Water from Fracking