Green groups call Montana fracking rules inadequate

A gas rig at the entrance to Battlement Mesa, Colo. (David O. Williams photo)

Montana recently joined an increasing number of states in regulating the practice of hydrofracking by requiring disclosure of the chemical used the process, but environmentalists say the rules don’t provide enough protection.

A set of new Montana regulations requiring the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing do not go far enough in protecting the rights of nearby property owners, according to a statewide conservation group.

“We are not satisfied. We’re definitely happy that the state is finally getting around to doing this, but the current regulations are fairly deficient,” Derf Johnson, program assistant at the Montana Environmental Information Center, said Tuesday of the regulations that went into effect for oil and gas wells on state and private land in the state on August 26.

Under the new rules from the Montana Oil and Gas Board, producers can disclose the chemicals used in fracking fluid either to the board or to a national fracturing fluid disclosure database maintained by

The critics says the rules don’t include any notification for landowners that a new fracking well is going in near their property, which would allow them to get a baseline water assessment so they could show contamination later. They also say the chemical reporting requirements have extremely broad exemptions that allow companies to hide many of the chemicals they use.