Rosebud Conservation District Land Use Ordinance
Enjoy this piece of Rosebud Conservation District history!
This is a letter written by Jim Rogers regarding the Land Use Ordinance...
In order to fulfill the responsibilities of the Rosebud Conservation District, the supervisors of the district are looking into putting a land use ordinance in place to protect our soils from the impact of Coal Bed Methane discharge water. The supervisors' intent is to encourage a CBM extraction process that leaves our district's sustainable resources available for long term use.
The proposed land use ordinance covers the scope of the protection that we need to have in place to adequately insure the protection and long term use of our soil and water resources. The protection for our soil and water that we are seeking through a public referendum includes beneficial use of CBM discharged water and reclamation bonding for impoundments which are constructed for the storage of this water. Livestock watering systems, irrigation in the traditional manner and wildlife watering are some beneficial uses. Irrigation will be limited. The accumulation of sodium salts derived from CBM produced water is not allowed in the districts soil. These soil types, percent of slope and water quality have already been shown through history in our county and being sustainable and profitable for surface owners. We must not allow an accumulation of sodium slats from CBM development to affect our district soil. Naturally occurring saline seeps and salt flats are no reason to accept CBM influenced damage. We should see the naturally occurring defects as a warning of what added water will do in similar soil types. We must work to prevent this occurrence with sound science rather than being economically driven to damage one resource while producing another.
We need o move out of the current line of thinking and find solutions to the problems of CBM produced water that we have now. The limits of beneficial use and traditional irrigation may encourage the industry to come up with the solutions that are necessary for the protection and exploitation of all of our natural resources. This balance must be found in these impacted watersheds before any of us can rest our efforts to use or protect our natural resources.
CBM impoundments must be bonded for reclamation so that the future soil resource will not be damaged by wind or water erosion taking place in abandoned ponds. The expense of reclamation needs to be borne by the industry that implements these structure and not by the conservation district or the citizens of the State of Montana. These impoundments must be reclaimed as they come to the end of their beneficial use. Another condition of the land use ordinance is that the impoundments will be lined to prevent accumulation of salts under the impoundment and the infiltration of CBM produced water into the ground water or to down gradient surface waters.
The short term of CMB development should not be able to affect the long term use of our soil nor should it have a lasting impact on the he availability of our ground water. These soil and water resources have supported our agricultural economy for over one hundred years and considerably longer for the native people of the region. Our district's resources need to be able to support our economy after the CBM pay is over. The voters of the Rosebud Conservation District need to make an informed decision on the upcoming mail ballot regarding the soils of our district and the discharge of CBM water to that soil. Rosebud Conservation District feels that this land use ordinance is a practical approach for the long term protection of our resources.
--Jim Rogers, previous RCD Board Vice-Chairman