Tag Archives: oil and gas leases

Moncrief retires drilling lease in Badger-Two Medicine; one more to go

Badger-Two Medicine Region
Badger-Two Medicine Region

Well, now. This is good news. Moncrief Oil relinquished their drilling lease in the The Badger-Two Medicine region Tuesday, leaving only one, stubborn holdout: Solonex . . .

Leaders of the Blackfeet Nation on Tuesday celebrated another victory in their mission to furnish permanent protections on the sacred Badger-Two Medicine area after Moncrief Oil relinquished an energy lease spanning more than 7,000 acres along the Rocky Mountain Front.

With the announcement of the relinquishment of Moncrief’s lease, there remains only one oil and gas leaseholder in the Badger Two Medicine area, Solenex LLC. The company’s 6,200-acre lease was cancelled by the government in 2016, but reinstated in 2018 after the D.C. District Court ruled in favor of Solenex. The case is currently in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

Still, the news on Tuesday prompted an outpouring of gratitude from members of the Blackfeet Nation, for whom the Badger-Two Medicine carries deep historical and cultural significance, as well as from conservation groups intent on preserving the area’s ecological heritage.

Read more . . .

Conservation groups cry foul in Pendley case

Badger-Two Medicine Region
Badger-Two Medicine Region

Oh, boy. A property rights lawyer with  significant connections to Solonex just got appointed as Deputy Director of Policy and Programs for the Bureau of Land Management, We’re talking a major, let the fox guard the henhouse, conflict of interest in the ongoing lawsuit over oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine . . .

An attorney for an oil company that is suing the federal government to drill for oil and gas in the Badger-Two Medicine region just south of Glacier National Park was recently named Deputy Director of Policy and Programs for the Bureau of Land Management, drawing charges that there’s a clear conflict of interest in the case.

William Perry Pendley, was a longtime attorney for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, which represents the Solonex Corp.

As of 2018, Pendley was listed as the attorney of record for Solonex, though the Foundation’s website no longer lists him as an attorney with the organization and his BLM profile makes no mention that he long argued cases for the Foundation.

Read more . . .

In Badger-Two Medicine, Interior to defend Solonex cancellation, but lets Moncrief lease ride

Badger-Two Medicine Region
Badger-Two Medicine Region

This is likely not as bad as it sounds. The feds are going to dig in and fight the Solonex lease in the Badger-Two Medicine region. The Moncrief lease doesn’t even have a permit to drill and would require a huge battle just to get past that step. I’d guess the government made the pragmatic determination to concentrate their resources on the larger threat. If they win against Solonex, the Moncrief lease is probably toast, too.

Anyway, here’s the write-up . . .

In a dramatic change of course, attorneys representing the U.S. Department of the Interior filed paperwork announcing they will not defend the cancellation of one of the last remaining oil and gas leases on the 130,000-acre Badger-Two Medicine, an area flanking Glacier National Park that holds cultural and ecological significance to members of the Blackfeet Nation.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a Whitefish native, had previously said he would defend the lease cancellations.

While members of the Blackfeet Nation expressed disappointment and frustration in the Interior’s decision not to fight an appeal by lease-owner W.A. Moncrief Jr, the Interior Department is expected to defend the cancellation of a second lease held by Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge, which is also being fought on appeal.

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It’s official: Notice of appeal filed in Badger-Two Medicine oil and gas lease case

Badger-Two Medicine Region
Badger-Two Medicine Region

The U.S. Department of the Interior came through on their promises and filed a notice of appeal in the legal dispute over gas and oil drilling leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region . . .

Attorneys representing the U.S. Department of the Interior, tribal and environmental groups Tuesday filed a notice of appeal challenging a federal judge’s decision to reinstate the last remaining oil and gas leases on the Badger-Two Medicine, an area flanking Glacier National Park that holds cultural and ecological significance to members of the Blackfeet Nation.

The filings in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia come just days before the Nov. 23 deadline, and preserve the government’s right to appeal Judge Richard J. Leon’s Sept. 24 order overturning the 2016 cancellation of leases held by Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and W.A. Moncrief Jr. in the Badger-Two Medicine area, a 130,000-acre swath of land between Glacier, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

The leases were originally canceled by the Interior Department under President Barack Obama, but Leon ruled that action was improper.

Read more . . .

Trump administration sides with tribes in Badger-Two Medicine drilling lease dispute

Two Medicine Lake, Sinopah Mountain
Two Medicine Lake, Sinopah Mountain – flickr user Ryan McKee (CC-BY-ND-2.0)

Everyone can stop holding their collective breath. The feds are indeed going to fight reinstatement of oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region . . .

The Trump administration plans to appeal a federal court ruling that would allow oil and gas drilling on land considered sacred to Native American tribes in Montana and Canada, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Tuesday.

Zinke said it would be inappropriate to allow drilling in northwestern Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine area, site of the creation story for the Blackfoot tribes. He’s asked government attorneys to appeal a September ruling that reinstated a nearly 10-square-mile (26-square-kilometer) oil and gas lease in the area bordering the Blackfeet Reservation and Glacier National Park.

The lease had been cancelled under President Barack Obama at the urging of the tribes and environmentalists before it was reinstated by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon.

Read more . . .

Arguments heard on Badger-Two Medicine drilling lease case

Badger-Two Medicine Region
Badger-Two Medicine Region

It’s spring and time for the next chapter of the legal dispute over the Solonex oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine region . . .

The legal dispute over possible oil and gas drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine area advanced Wednesday.

The case centers on a roughly 6,200-acre mineral lease there, held by Louisiana-based firm Solenex. The firm’s owner, Sidney Longwell, acquired the lease in 1982. But as he sought approval to drill, he drew greater opposition from enviornmental groups and the Blackfeet Nation, whose reservation abuts Badger-Two Medicine. In 2016, then-secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell concluded that the lease had been improperly issued and canceled it altogether.

Solenex amended a lawsuit it already had pending against Jewell, claiming that she had acted improperly in that decision. In the hearing Wednesday, the sides presented their arguments for summary judgment before Judge Richard Leon in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Read more . . .

Interior Department cancels remaining oil and gas leases in Badger-Two Medicine

Badger-Two Medicine Region
Badger-Two Medicine Region

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.”

Read more . . .

Further reading: The official BLM press release

US cancels last two oil and gas leases in Badger-Two Medicine area

Badger-Two Medicine Region
Badger-Two Medicine Region

With 12 days left in the Obama administration, the Interior Department cancelled the remaining 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 another 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.”

Read more . . .

Devon Energy relinquishes its oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine

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

Devon Energy relinquished its 15 oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region. All that’s left now is the ongoing battle with Solonex over their two leases . . .

U.S. officials cancelled 15 oil and gas leases on Wednesday in an area bordering Glacier National Park that’s considered sacred to the Blackfoot tribes of the U.S. and Canada.

The cancellation was aimed at preserving the Badger-Two Medicine area, a largely-undeveloped, 130,000-acre wilderness that is the site of the creation story for members of Montana’s Blackfeet Nation and the Blackfoot tribes of Canada.

“It should not have been leased to begin with,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in announcing the cancellations at her agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. “This sets the right tone for how business should be done in the future.”

Read more . . .

Tribal leader’s push to protect Badger-Two Medicine paying off

Badger-Two Medicine Region
Badger-Two Medicine Region

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.

Read more . . .