Remaining Badger-Two Medicine Area oil and gas leases canceled

Print Article

The U.S. Department of the Interior on Tuesday announced it has canceled the last two oil and gas leases remaining in the Badger-Two Medicine Area southeast of Glacier National Park.

The controversial leases were approved, along with dozens of others, by the department in the early 1980s. The nearby Blackfeet Nation has long opposed drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine, a 130,000-acre tract of land considered sacred to the tribe.

“We are proud to have worked alongside the Blackfeet Nation and the U.S. Forest Service throughout this process to roll back decades-old leases and reinforce the importance of developing resources in the right way and the right places,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell stated in a press release Tuesday. “The cancellation of the final two leases in the rich cultural and natural Badger-Two Medicine Area will ensure it is protected for future generations.”

The Badger-Two Medicine sits nestled between the borders of the Blackfeet Reservation, Glacier Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.

The Blackfeet argued that the federal government failed to fulfill its legal requirement to review the area’s cultural significance to the tribe when it initially approved drilling on the federal land, which is located within the Lewis and Clark National Forest.

“We’ve lived for 30 years under the threat that it might be industrialized, and we’re extremely grateful that this cloud is finally lifted,” Blackfeet Business Council Chairman Harry Barnes said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “This area is like a church to our people, and retiring the last of the leases is a tremendous step toward permanent protection of the Badger-Two Medicine.”

The area is part of the Blackfeet’s federally recognized Traditional Cultural District, and is the site of their creation story. In 2006, Congress passed legislation withdrawing the area from mineral development.

The move by the Obama Administration follows prior cancellations in 2015, including a settlement with Devon Energy in November in which the company relinquished its 15 leases. In the decades prior, other mineral development companies had relinquished dozens of other leases granted under the administration of former president Ronald Reagan.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., also praised the Interior Department’s decision in a statement Tuesday.

“Today marks the end of a decades-long journey for the Blackfeet Tribe and outdoor enthusiasts in northwest Montana,” Tester said in the press release. “The Badger-Two Medicine carries sacred significance and today’s decision guarantees the preservation of this pristine region for generations to come.”

Reporter Sam Wilson can be reached at 758-4407 or by email at swilson@dailyinterlake.com.

Print Article

Read More

Egypt releases Irish-Egyptian after 4 years detention

AP

October 20, 2017 at 5:04 am | CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities have released an Irish-Egyptian man who was detained for four years on charges related to a Muslim Brotherhood protest in Cairo in 2013, his lawyer said. Ibrahim...

Comments

Read More

AP Top International News at 7:04 a.m. EDT

AP

October 20, 2017 at 5:10 am | The Latest: Federal troops take disputed town from Kurds...

Comments

Read More

The Latest: Federal troops take disputed town from Kurds

AP

October 20, 2017 at 5:00 am | ALTUN KUPRI, Iraq (AP) — The Latest on developments in Iraq. (all times local): 1:55 p.m. Iraqi state TV says federal forces alongside Iranian-backed militias seized a town at the center of b...

Comments

Read More

The Latest: UK leader backs Spain in Catalonia crisis

AP

October 20, 2017 at 5:00 am | BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local): 12:50 p.m. British Prime Minister Theresa May has given her strong support to the Spanish governm...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2017 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X