Tag Archives: Badger-Two Medicine region

Lawsuit over Badger-Two Medicine leases retreats behind closed doors

Badger-Two Medicine Region

Here’s a non-surprise: After the Solonex lawsuit forced the federal government to take an official stance on the issue of energy leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region, attorneys on both sides want to move the discussion behind closed doors for a while . . .

The Interior Department and a Louisiana energy company are asking a federal judge to pause court proceedings in a dispute over a drilling lease near Glacier National Park.

Attorneys for the two sides said in a Wednesday court filing that they want more time to see if they can resolve the case outside of court.

They asked U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to put the case on hold until Jan. 8.

Read more . . .

Interior Department plans to cancel Badger-Two Medicine leases

Badger-Two Medicine Region

No surprise here, but it is good to see the official ruling from the U.S. Department of the Interior concerning the contentious oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine . . .

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced its aim to cancel a contentious oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area, a landscape that connects the Bob Marshall Wilderness to Glacier National Park and is considered a sacred cultural reserve by the Blackfeet Nation.

In a court-ordered response filed Nov. 23, attorneys for the Interior Department submitted a decision hailed by tribal leaders, conservation groups and political leaders as a “critical step forward” in the pursuit of furnishing permanent protections on the region.

The decision follows an earlier recommendation by the U.S. Forest Service that energy exploration on the 165,000-acre parcel would irreparably damage the area’s cultural and historic significance.

Read more . . .

Former Glacier Park supers want drilling leases cancelled

Badger-Two Medicine Region

A group of former Glacier Park superintendents want the Badger-Two Medicine drilling leases canceled . . .

If one were to hike in the Badger-Two Medicine region of the Lewis and Clark National Forest right now, they’d likely come upon a sign warning of a grizzly bear prowling in the Sawmill Flats area. The sign is not unusual. The 160,000 acre region on the Lewis and Clark National Forest is not wilderness and isn’t Park Service land, but it is no less wild.

Six retired Glacier Park superintendents want the Department of Interior to keep it that way. In a letter to the Hungry Horse News and other newspapers across the state, they’re asking the Department of Interior to cancel oil and gas leases in the Badger Two Medicine as an energy company pursues legal action to drill exploratory wells on a 3,000-plus acre tract in Hall Creek.

“Industrial energy development of this world-class resource would represent an intolerable assault to the ecological and cultural values of Glacier National Park, as well as to the Blackfeet people,” the superintendents argue. “On behalf of the millions of visitors who cherish the Crown of the Continent, and on behalf of our colleagues whose careers were spent working for the best interests of Glacier National Park, we ask the Department of Interior to exercise its authority to cancel the Badger-Two Medicine leases.”

Read more . . .

Also read: Letter to the editor from regarding drilling in Badger-Two Medicine region

Judge wants Badger-Two Medicine drilling decision by Thanksgiving

Two Medicine Lake

Federal officials were told to make a decision on canceling drilling leases in the Badger-Two Medicine before they sit down for their Thanksgiving dinners . . .

A federal judge wants the government to speed up its consideration of a long-stalled drilling proposal near Glacier National Park that’s on land sacred to American Indians in the U.S. and Canada.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ordered the Interior Department to decide by Nov. 23 whether to start the process of canceling the energy lease at issue, or move to lift a suspension on drilling.

Louisiana-based Solenex LLC sued the government in 2013, challenging the three-decade suspension.

Read more . . .

Federal panel says Badger-Two Medicine too special to drill

Two Medicine Lake

Here’s some good news: Following up on their hearings about three weeks ago, the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation issued a report stating that the Badger-Two Medicine region is inappropriate for energy development . . .

The Badger-Two Medicine area south of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation can’t be drilled for oil and gas development without ruining its cultural and traditional values, according to a report by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

“They recommended cancellation of all the leases in the Badger-Two Medicine,” Blackfeet Tribal Historic Preservation Officer John Murray said Monday afternoon. “We’re grateful there’s hope in this world for people who’ve been marginalized, racially and economically. There’s a lot of hope from what’s in the report.”

The council’s analysis stated drilling plans by Louisiana-based Solenex LLC “would be so damaging to the (Traditional Cultural District) that the Blackfeet Tribe’s ability to practice their religious and cultural traditions in this area as a living part of their community life and development would be lost.”

Read more . . .

Also read: Panel recommends canceling drilling lease near Glacier (Missoulian)

Frank Vitale: Badger-Two Medicine is no place to drill

Frank Vitale says his piece
Frank Vitale

NFPA member Frank Vitale has a nice op-ed in today’s Daily Inter Lake concerning drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine region . . .

The Blackfeet call it “Mistakis,” the Backbone of the World. The Continental Divide snakes its way through this land also known as the Badger-Two Medicine. It is the cornerstone of the Blackfeet creation story.

I have ridden, hiked and hunted through this area and know it well. It is some of the wildest country in the Northern Rockies. It lies between Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Great Bear Wilderness. It is one of the largest unprotected roadless areas in the state at 165,588 acres.

The Badger-Two Medicine is a rugged, remote, pristine ecosystem that’s home to grizzlies and black bears, wolves, mountain lions, wolverines and lynx. Moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mule deer and whitetail deer and one of the largest herds of elk on the northern Rocky Mountain Front (numbering around 800 head) also live here. Its cold rivers and streams support some of the last pure populations of westslope cutthroat trout east of the Continental Divide.

The Badger and Two Medicine rivers spill out on the high prairies. Life zones range from the alpine and montane forests to short-grass prairies where grizzlies and antelope intermix.

This is not a place to drill for oil or gas. No mitigation can avoid the negative impacts of oil and gas exploration in this sacred and wild land.

Badger Two-Medicine hearing draws overwhelming support for preservation

Two Medicine Lake
Two Medicine Lake – Flikr User Phil’s Pixels

There was a big turnout to oppose drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine region at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation hearing in Choteau. Among many other groups and organizations, the NFPA had several representatives there . . .

A Sept. 2 meeting held by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in Choteau featured overwhelming support for the withdrawal of leases on the Badger-Two Medicine, an area with cultural and ecological linkages to the Blackfeet Nation and Glacier National Park.

In addition to the public testimony, letters of support for lease cancellation by Gov. Steve Bullock, the Glacier County Commissioners and seven former Glacier Park superintendents were submitted.

The meeting was the latest step by the Blackfeet tribe and a coalition of conservation organizations to interdict an exploratory oil well proposed by Louisiana-based Solenex LLC, which acquired the energy lease in 1982. The efforts to drill have long been delayed by legal challenges, and Solenex has filed a lawsuit arguing the delays have been unreasonable.

Read more . . .

Love the Badger-Two Medicine? Don’t Miss This!

Stolen shamelessly from an announcement sent out by Dave Hadden of Headwaters Montana . . .

Blackfeet Tribal leaders and conservationists have made significant progress in recent months toward permanent protection of the Badger – Two Medicine sacred landscape.

The Glacier Two Medicine Alliance’s annual Fall Gathering is well worth attending and supporting.  Good food, good music and GREAT people.  (See poster below.)

Put this event on your fall calendar and contribute your energy to a positive future for this place.

Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance 2015 Fall Gathering Poster
Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance 2015 Fall Gathering Poster

NFPA speaks up for the Badger-Two Medicine

Two Medicine Lake
Two Medicine Lake

Here’s a report from NFPA president Debo Powers on yesterday’s meeting in Choteau concerning drilling leases in the Badger-Two Medicine . . .

On Wednesday, September 2, an independent federal agency called the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) traveled to Choteau, Montana to hear from the public about proposed oil and gas development in the Badger-Two Medicine. The hearing was preparation for the ACHP’s recommendation to the U.S. Forest Service concerning whether or not the impacts of drilling can be mitigated.

Three members of the North Fork Preservation Association traveled four hours each way to attend the public hearing and stand in solidarity with the Blackfeet Nation who say that the Badger-Two Medicine is sacred and central to their culture.

The large meeting room at the Stage Stop Inn was packed with both native and non-native Montanans who showed their support for cancellation of the leases.  The testimony took two and a half hours with each speaker having 2 minutes to speak. The only person who spoke in favor of drilling was the attorney for the company who holds the leases.

One member of the ACHP told me afterwards that it was impressive to see the non-native support for native people and their culture. He commented that common interests can bring people together.

Speak up for the Badger-Two Medicine

Here’s an important message from our friends at the Montana Wilderness Association for anyone concerned about the potential for drilling activities in the Badger-Two Medicine region. Note that Debo Powers (debopowers@gmail.com) is organizing a car pool to attend the meeting in Choteau . . .

The Badger-Two Medicine (photo courtesy of Leanne Falcon and Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance)
The Badger-Two Medicine (photo courtesy of Leanne Falcon and Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance)

On September 2, 2015, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) travels to Choteau, Montana to hear from the public about proposed oil and gas development in the Badger-Two Medicine. ACHP is an independent federal agency that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation’s historic resources. In this case, the council will advise the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) whether the negative impacts of proposed drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine can be mitigated to avoid damaging the Badger’s sacred, cultural, and historical values.

We have a very simple message for the ACHP: any development in the Badger-Two Medicine will bring irreparable damage. The only recommendation the ACHP can make for preventing damage and desecration to this sacred area is this: Cancel the illegal leases.

We need your help to make this message loud and clear to the ACHP.

The USFS must consider ACHP’s recommendation in making its final determination about oil and gas drilling in the Badger. If the ACHP tells the USFS that the agency should carefully consider lease cancellation because the impacts cannot be mitigated, it strongly bolsters the case we have been making – that lease cancellation is the only good option for the Badger. But if ACHP proposes that the development can somehow be mitigated to decrease damage to the cultural property, it leaves the door open for drilling across the Badger. Encouragingly, the USFS last week recognized, in its response to a U.S. District court order, that cancellation is an option the agency could pursue.

The ACHP needs to hear from all Montanans about why the Badger-Two Medicine is an invaluable piece of Blackfeet, Montana, and American history.

We’re asking people to attend the meeting in Choteau on Wednesday, September 2 or else submit a written comment to ACHP, or both.

The meeting takes place in Choteau on September 2 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Stage Stop Inn, 1005 Main Ave. North.

ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO CARPOOL FROM THE NORTH FORK TO CHOTEAU ON SEPTEMBER 2 TO ATTEND THIS MEETING, PLEASE CONTACT DEBO AT debopowers@gmail.com

If you would like to speak at the meeting, you can pre-register to do so by contacting Katry Harris at 106permittodrill@achp.gov. People who have not pre-registered will be allowed to speak if time permits.

To submit a written comment, email it to Katry Harris at 106permittodrill@achp.gov or mail her your comments to:

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
401 F Street, NW, Suite 308,
Washington, D.C. 20001-2637

All comments must be submitted by 3 p.m. (MST), September 4, 2015.

Here are some comment suggestions:

  • The Badger-Two Medicine area holds significant cultural and historical importance to the Blackfeet people, to the people of Montana, and to all citizens. Sacred lands should be protected from industrialization for posterity. What does the Badger mean to you and your family?
  • The Badger-Two Medicine is a living cultural landscape and an intact ecosystem. Its cultural value cannot be separated from its ecological integrity.
  • The ACHP should avoid making recommendations that suggest that the negative impacts of oil and gas exploration can be mitigated or avoided, because that is not possible.
  • The only option to avoid permanent damage to the Badger-Two Medicine is to not drill and to encourage the federal land managers to work together to cancel all of the remaining leases.

Casey Perkins, MWA’s Rocky Mountain Front field director