Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 1. Regulation by Board of Oil and Gas Conservation

Emergencies -- Notice And Hearing

82-11-151. Emergencies -- notice and hearing. (1) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, if the administrator or a board member finds that a person is committing or about to commit an act in violation of this chapter or any order or rule issued under it that, if it occurs or continues, will cause substantial pollution, the administrator under order of the board or the board member is authorized to order the person to stop, avoid, or moderate the act, including immediate closure or shutdown of any well. This authority is limited to acts the harmful effects of which will not be remedied immediately after the commission or cessation of the act or will represent an immediate threat to public health, safety, or welfare.

(2) When any emergency requiring immediate action is found pursuant to subsection (1), the board is authorized to issue an emergency order without notice or hearing, which is effective upon issuance as provided in 82-11-141(3).

(3) The board may have written notice served, personally or by mail, on the alleged violator or the violator's agent. The notice must state the provision alleged to be violated, the facts alleged to constitute the violation, the nature of corrective action the board requires, and the time within which the action is to be taken. For the purposes of this section, service by mail is complete on the date of mailing.

(4) The notice must indicate that the order is an emergency order.

(5) Pursuant to 82-11-141(3), the board may consider the emergency order at its next regular meeting, without compliance with the notice requirements of this chapter if they cannot be accomplished within the time available, and enter a second emergency order.

(6) Upon issuing an order under subsection (2), the board may fix a place and time for a hearing, not later than 5 days after issuance unless the person to whom the order is directed requests a later time. The board may deny a request for a later time if it finds that the person to whom the order is directed is not complying with the order. If the board considers it practicable, the hearing must be held in the county where the violation is alleged to have occurred. As soon as practicable after the hearing, the board shall affirm, modify, or set aside the order.

(7) If the order of the board is affirmed, it must be accompanied by a statement specifying the date or dates by which a violation must cease and may prescribe timetables for necessary action in preventing, abating, or controlling the pollution. An action for review of the order of the board may be initiated in the manner specified in 82-11-144. The initiation of an action or taking of an appeal may not stay the effectiveness of the order unless the court finds that the board did not have reasonable cause to issue an order under this section.

History: En. Sec. 9, Ch. 503, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 2744, Ch. 56, L. 2009.