Debate Remains Heated On Oil Near Billings - | Local News, Weather & Sports | Billings, MT

Debate Remains Heated On Oil Near Billings

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It's their land, their home, and many say they're not even aware of the new drilling plan.

"There was no chance for any input on it one way or the other, and I don't think that's right," said Mike Smith, a Belfry resident.

Others are quick to say they do support the possibility of oil fields, and the opportunity it could bring the little community.

"Personally, I think it's probably fine. We could use the business. With Costco and Wal-Mart taking all our business away, it's hard in a small town to keep people in town," said Bob Cichosz, owner of the Belfry Country Store.

Nearly sixty miles away, a protest in Billings sponsored by the Northern Plains Resource Council gives residents an outlet to voice their concerns over big oil.

"I'm afraid of the size and the power of corporations that get to do whatever they want in the United States," said Nancy Halter, a Billings resident who appeared at the protest.

But the regional director for Energy Corporation of America says they know what they're doing and this will only improve the Montana company by adding jobs.

"We're looking forward to growing here for years. Bringing good paying jobs and millions of dollars in investments to the state. We've already had the pleasure of creating a couple positions here," said Regional Director, Derrick Pottmeyer.

With opinions strong on both sides of the issue, many who would have to live with the continuous drilling in their neighborhood still say with some reasonable regulation, could come reasonable progress. Like Bruce Jacobsen, who owns land in Belfry.

"My reaction is, this area needs a little something to jumpstart the economy here, and the town has been really struggling the last so many years."

Derrick Pottmeyer also says the well that will be drilled in Belfry, will use horizontal drilling procedures that are much different than the common fracking techniques.