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Montanans Know the Drill: 26,000 More Oil and Gas Wells Planned

September 18, 2007

Helena, MT – A new study from The Wilderness Society indicates no sign of a slowdown in the development of oil and natural gas wells. More than 26,000 new wells are currently planned on Montana public lands. Dave Alberswerth with The Wilderness Society says Congress is taking note of the pace of development; the U.S. House has approved rules that would require the industry to clean up damage to private property, and ensure air and water isn't dangerously polluted.

"The rules would require oil and gas operations on public lands to be fully bonded to cover the costs of reclamation, similar to requirements that now apply to coal and hard rock mining operations on public lands."

Alberswerth says hunters, anglers and many in the agriculture industry in Montana approve of the proposed rules because they protect private property.

"It will provide some measure of protection for ranchers and farmers, whose lands overlay federal oil and gas resources, by requiring consultation with those landowners prior to drilling. And, it will assure any damage to their property is repaired."

Alberswerth says research shows more than 126,000 more oil and gas wells are planned for public land throughout the Rockies. Critics of new regulations say they are redundant and would stifle much-needed energy supplies.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - MT