Tag Archives: oil and gas development

Frank Vitale: Badger-Two Medicine under threat

Hello NFPA members:

At our August Board meeting I said I would keep the membership informed about the current status and events of the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act as they unfold, and the issues facing the Badger-Two Medicine Roadless Area.

At my request, I asked Bill Walker to post the most current news reports from the Great Falls Tribune, Missoulian, Daily Interlake and the Hungry Horse News. Thanks, Bill. It’s my hope that NFPA members read these articles and become engaged.

The Hungry Horse News, in its Oct. 9, 2013 issue, has a very good article written by Chris Peterson on the pending legal battle over an oil and gas lease within the Badger-Two Medicine. (Bill posted this on the website.)

Various groups are intervening on behalf of the Lewis & Clark NF to help protect the Badger-Two Medicine, which is on the northern portion of the Rocky Mountain Front just south of Glacier NP. The article briefly explains the history of the area and its importance as a vital linkage between Glacier and the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex. One hundred thirty thousand acres of inventoried roadless land is nothing to ignore. A person can travel through the Badger-Two Medicine and the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex approximately 140 miles without crossing a single road. The Badger-Two Medicine was included in the 1980s statewide wilderness bill, but vetoed by then President Ronald Reagan at the request of Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana).

Many of the folks that have requested intervener status have helped out in our North Fork efforts, and I feel it’s time for us to help out our neighbors. Letters need to be written to the delegation (see contact info below) with copies sent to the Lewis and Clark National Forest in support of protecting the Badger-Two Medicine, and the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act as a whole.

As I stated before, things are unfolding fast and this will probably be one of the largest and most important conservation issues facing the Crown of the Continent. And, as a side note – One of the oil and gas companies that is holding out on a buyout just happens to be holding out its lease in the North Fork as well.

The Badger Two Medicine and the North Fork of the Flathead have more in common than you might think. Both adjoin Glacier NP and both are vital wildlife areas connecting linkages east & west, and north & south. Protecting the Badger-Two Medicine is good for the North Fork.

For additional information on the Badger-Two Medicine area, the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance and its long-time North Fork connection, go to: http://www.conservemontana.org/content/glacier-two-medicine-alliance/cnmF68CE668434B66836.

Please send letters to protect the Badger-Two Medicine and support the Rocky Mountain Heritage Act:

Senator Jon Tester – www.tester.senate.gov
706 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-2604
Phone: (202) 224-2644

Senator Max Baucus – www.baucus.senate.gov
511 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-2651

Congressman Steve Daines – www.daines.house.gov
206 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-3211

Supervisor’s Office
Lewis and Clark National Forest – www.fs.usda.gov/contactus/lcnf
PO Box 869
Great Falls, MT  59403



Environmental groups petition to intervene in Badger-Two Medicine oil & gas lawsuit

Our friends on the other side of the Divide are not happy about an oil exploration threat to the the Badger-Two Medicine area . . .

Several environmental groups have petitioned to intervene in a legal battle over a disputed oil and gas claim in the Badger-Two Medicine area about two miles southeast of Glacier National Park.

Solonex, a Louisiana-based oil and gas company sued the Forest Service and the Department of Interior claiming it has been illegally prevented from exploring about 6,200 acres of land it leases for oil and gas. Solonex obtained the leases in 1982, but over the years the government continually delayed exploration.In 1998, the government suspended exploration activities there indefinitely. Solonex, which is owned by Sidney Longwell, claims this is a violation of federal law. Congress can allow delays but can’t suspend activities on leased lands indefinitely, Solonex claims.

Late last month, the Blackfeet Headwaters Alliance, based in Browning, and the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance, headquartered in East Glacier, applied for intervenor status in the lawsuit. The National Parks Conservation Association, Montana Wilderness Association and the Wilderness Society also filed for intervenor status.

Read more . . .

Energy companies and environmentalists agree on fracking standards

The voluntary fracking standards just established for the Northeast will likely have a “halo effect” on fracking elsewhere in the country. In fact, this may very well have been a factor in Anschutz Exploration’s recent decision to halt exploratory drilling on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation just east of the Continental Divide . . .

Some of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies have made peace with environmentalists, agreeing to a voluntary set of tough new standards for fracking in the Northeast that could lead to a major expansion of drilling.

The program announced Wednesday [March 20] will work a lot like Underwriters Laboratories, which puts its familiar UL seal of approval on electrical appliances that meet its standards.

In this case, drilling and pipeline companies will be encouraged to submit to an independent review of their operations. If they are found to be abiding by a list of stringent measures to protect the air and water from pollution, they will receive the blessing of the new Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development, created by environmentalists and the energy industry.

Many of the new standards appear to be stricter than state and federal regulations.

Continue reading . . .

Grizzly bear panel eying oil activity on east side

Land and wildlife managers are keeping an eye on the impact of oil and gas development on the Rock Mountain Front . . .

An interagency panel of land and wildlife managers has turned its attention to the impacts on grizzly bears from oil-and-gas exploration and extraction on the Rocky Mountain Front.

The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem Subcommittee is geared toward delisting the grizzly bear population, with a draft Conservation Strategy for doing so expected to be released this summer.

But removing the threatened Northern Rockies grizzly bear population from protection under the Endangered Species Act is still “several years out,” said Chris Servheen, grizzly bear recovery coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Continue reading . . .