Looks like more lease cancellations in the Badger-two Medicine region are likely . . .
Blackfeet tribal leaders, conservationists and cultural preservationists have made numerous pilgrimages to Washington, D.C. this year in hopes of furnishing permanent protections on the wild and sacred Badger-Two Medicine region, which for more than three decades has been threatened with industrialization.
This week, their efforts are expected to pay off.
Chief Earl Old Person and the Blackfeet Nation’s elected leadership arrived in the capital this week to underscore their long-standing request that federal land managers cancel a suite of remaining undeveloped oil and gas leases on the 130,000-acre Badger-Two Medicine, which lies on the Rocky Mountain Front, bounded on the north by Glacier National Park and the east by the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
The Blackfeet are keeping up the pressure in the fight over drilling leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region . . .
While a decades-long legal struggle over energy exploration in the Badger-Two Medicine revolves around its sacred nature to the Blackfeet Indians, it wasn’t until this week that the tribe officially asked to join the fight.
Blackfeet tribal leaders joined several conservation groups in requesting intervener status in the case between Solenex LLC and the U.S. Department of the Interior before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C. Two months ago, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell accepted a recommendation from the U.S. Forest Service to cancel Solenex’s drilling leases on 6,200 acres of public land just south of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Solenex asked Leon to overrule the decision and reinstate the leases.
“Those representing traditional Blackfeet culture did not have a seat at the table 30 years ago when the federal government leased our sacred lands for a dollar an acre,” said John Murray of the Pikuni Traditionalist Association. “This intervention is important to ensure that those representing traditional Blackfeet culture have a seat at the table now as the court considers the validity of the government’s effort to correct that 30-year-old mistake.”
The Blackfeet continue to fight attempts to drill in the Badger-Two Medicine region . . .
An American Indian tribe in Montana has taken the rare step of breaking off formal talks with the U.S. government and a Louisiana company that has been seeking for decades to drill for natural gas on land considered sacred by the Blackfeet people.
Blackfeet tribal leaders said that after three rounds of negotiations, they remain steadfast in their opposition to drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine area outside Glacier National Park and see no benefit to further discussions.
“We are not going to speak to anything other than no development,” said Blackfeet Tribal Historic Preservation Officer John Murray.
Our colleagues on the Rocky Mountain Front are having a problem with Solenex, an oil outfit based in Lousiana. Solenex is suing the feds to allow oil exploration in the Badger-Two Medicine area. Jack Gladstone came up with a unique way to open a conversation with the company . . .
Blackfeet musician Jack Gladstone has invited a Louisiana oil executive to visit him on the reservation and discuss relinquishing his company’s oil leases south of Glacier National Park.
Gladstone wrote to Solenex Inc. manager Sidney Longwell on Aug. 30, telling him the company’s drilling plans along the Rocky Mountain Front would “violate both the sanctity of this landscape and the treaty rights” of the Pikuni-Blackfeet people…
“Sidney, my home is on the Blackfeet Reservation. I may not have all the amenities of the big city, but a pot of coffee is always on and a meal never far from the stove,” Gladstone wrote. “I invite you to visit me here, to deepen our understanding of each other’s motives and visions regarding the Badger-Two Medicine/Hall Creek wildlands.