An alert from the Montana Wilderness Association concerning the current BLM Resource Management Plan for the area around Lewiston, in central Montana . . .
The Bureau of Land Management yesterday released a second version of a resource management plan (RMP) draft directing how the agency’s Lewistown Field Office will manage 650,000 surface acres of public lands in central Montana over the next 20 to 30 years.
We’ve dubbed this area “the wild heart of Montana,” because it’s one of America’s last and largest intact prairie ecosystems, supporting one of the most productive populations of ungulates in North America and a thriving host of grassland bird species. It’s a remote and stunning place of buttes, breaks, and unbroken grasslands bordering the Upper Missouri River Breaks, the Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge, and the UL Bend Wildlife Refuge. The area epitomizes what makes Montana so special.
But the preferred management option Interior presents in the draft RMP released today would protect none of this area. Instead, the RMP would open up almost all of it to oil and gas development and other uses that would diminish the wild character, wildlife habitat, and everything else that makes central Montana so special.
Here’s a bit more information on last Tuesday’s announcement of the cancellation of the last two oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region . . .
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced the Bureau of Land Management has canceled the final two oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area within the Lewis and Clark National Forest in Northwest Montana.
The two lease cancellations address outstanding concerns about the potential for oil and gas development in this culturally and ecologically important area. The cancellations come on the heels of U.S. officials cancelling other 15 oil and gas leases in the area.
“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.” said Secretary Sally Jewell. “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.”