Exercising our rights

To the Editor, There’s been some coverage lately of the grassroots efforts going on in Carbon and Stillwater counties to raise awareness about the imminent oil drilling that is moving into the area. Unfortunately, I think there is even more to this story that needs to be clarified and represented that was not fairly portrayed. Oil & Gas Board member and Sidney Mayor, Brett Smelser was offended by protests, and in one article made it sound like our comments were NIMBY “not in my backyard”. As an organization with members across the entire state, especially representing eastern Montana, we understand the importance of place and water to each community. We are simply exercising our constitutional right to meaningful protest of a development that will affect all of us. Participating is this process is one of the most important ways to making sure it is done right. The Beartooth Front is a very special place, but so is all of Montana, the Last Best Place. We want to work with our communities and ALL politicians to make sure our communities have a voice and that it’s heard. No landowners were warned that these wells would be drilled next door, that waste pits would dot their properties, or that traffic will be increasing 50 fold, so we are here to change that. We are sorry Mayor Smelser felt it necessary to tell us that Sidney has not been ruined by oil and gas development. All we are trying to do is make sure that the Beartooth Front is not ruined. Lana Sangmeister Stillwater Protective Association Northern Plains Resource Council Nye