As expected, Solonex has challenged the cancellation of their oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine. The paperwork was filed last Friday . . .
A Louisiana company challenged the cancellation of an oil and gas lease in northwest Montana on Friday, after federal officials said drilling would disturb an area sacred to the Blackfoot tribes of the U.S. and Canada.
The 6,200-acre lease owned by Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge is in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. It’s just outside Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
Attorneys for the company want U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C., to reject the Interior Department’s March 17 cancellation of the lease.
The Obama administration has cancelled a disputed oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area near Glacier National Park.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced Thursday the Bureau of Land Management has cancelled the 6,200-acre lease in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. The lease, currently held by Solonex LLC, was issued by the BLM in 1982 on land considered sacred to the Blackfeet tribes of the U.S. and Canada.
The cancellation is expected to be challenged in federal court by Solenex, a Louisiana company seeking to drill for oil and gas.
The BLM concluded the Solonex lease was improperly issued in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historical Preservation Act. The agency consulted with the U.S. Forest Service, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Blackfeet Tribe, leaseholder and others, according to federal officials.
The Hungry Horse News has a nice summary of the battle over drilling leases in the Badger-Two Medicine . . .
The battle over oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine will continue. The Department of Interior and Solonex, the company that owns the leases had asked U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon to suspend the case so the two parties could negotiate a settlement in the 30-plus year battle. But those talks have fallen apart.
Now Solonex, in a brief to the court on Jan. 19, claims that any attempt to cancel the leases by the DOI would be arbitrary and contrary to federal law. Solonex is represented by the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a nonprofit that often takes up private business and citizens issues in land use disputes in federal court.
The DOI in December said it tentatively planned on canceling the leases altogether, claiming the U.S. Forest Service never did a proper examination of the impacts on Blackfeet Tribe cultural resources when it sold the leases in 1981.
A Louisiana company has asked a federal judge to block government plans to cancel a long-stalled federal energy lease on land considered sacred to American Indians.
The Interior Department announced in November that it plans to cancel the 6,200-acre lease near Glacier National Park because it was improperly issued in 1982. It’s owned by Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In a Tuesday court filing, company attorney Steven Lechner said the government arbitrarily reversed course last year after previous determinations that the leases were valid.
After several weeks of closed-door discussions aimed at resolving a lawsuit over drilling leases in the Badger-Two medicine region, the Interior Department and Solonex, the Louisiana energy company that brought the lawsuit, notified the court yesterday afternoon that they intend to resume litigation.
This means the government will press ahead with their decision to cancel all energy leases in the Badger-Two Medicine and Solonex will fight the decision.
Expect some sort of fireworks within the next couple of weeks.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”