By Ali Guio
The Montana Wildlife Federation challenged the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation decision to issue twenty-three gas well permits in the Cedar Creek Anticline. The Plaintiffs claimed that twenty-three individual Environmental Assessments completed by Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation staff were inadequate under the Montana Environmental Policy Act review standards and that the Board was required to conduct a programmatic review of the permits. The Montana Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s finding of summary judgment for the MBOGC, ruling that, under MEPA’s arbitrary and capricious standard, the Court’s role is not to determine if it would have made the same decision as the Board, but to decide whether the Board had sufficient information to make the decision it made. The Court found that the Board’s decision did not violate Montana’s statutory framework regulating oil and gas or MEPA’s procedural requirements.
Read full summary here.