Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 1. Regulation by Board of Oil and Gas Conservation

Court Review

82-11-144. Court review. Any interested person adversely affected by any provision of this chapter or by any rule or order adopted by the board hereunder or by any act done or threatened thereunder may obtain court review and seek relief by a suit for an injunction against the board as defendant, which suit may be instituted in the district court of the county where the board keeps its principal office or in the district court of any county wherein the land involved or any part thereof is situated. The term "interested person", as used herein, shall be interpreted broadly and liberally, especially where the suit involves the right to drill a well or involves some other act which clearly affects the plaintiff even though the effect is indirect. If the act complained of involves a general order for a pool or the right to drill a well therein, a person who owns or has an interest in a well in the pool, which well is capable of producing oil or gas, shall be considered to be prima facie an interested person. The suit shall be given a preferential setting and shall be tried de novo and disposed of as an ordinary civil suit and not upon the record of any hearing before the board. The statute, rule, order, or decision involved in the suit shall be prima facie valid; however, the finding of fact, actual or presumed, made by the board in support of the rule, order, or decision involved in the suit is not binding on the court though supported by evidence introduced at a hearing before the board. The court shall decide all relevant questions of law, interpret constitutional and statutory provisions, and determine the meaning or applicability of the terms of any board action. The court shall:

(1) compel board action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed;

(2) hold unlawful and set aside board action, findings, and conclusions found to be:

(a) arbitrary, unreasonable, capricious, and abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law;

(b) contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege, or immunity;

(c) in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations or short of statutory right;

(d) without observance of procedure required by law; or

(e) unwarranted by the facts; and

(3) consider all the evidence, pass on the credibility of witnesses and the weight to be given their testimony, and resolve such fact issues as may be necessary for decision in the case.

History: En. Sec. 12, Ch. 238, L. 1953; amd. Sec. 74, Ch. 253, L. 1974; R.C.M. 1947, 60-135(1).