Tag Archives: The Wilderness Society

Timeline submitted for decision on Badger-Two Medicine drilling leases

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

The feds have decided to make a decision about energy leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region. By November 30, they will either commence to cancel the leases …or not.

This would be funny if the consequences weren’t so serious. Just read the darn article while I go bang my head on my desk . . .

Public land managers have submitted a court-ordered schedule framing the steps they’ll take to either lift a suspension of oil and gas drilling on a prized and culturally sacred landscape adjacent to Glacier National Park or cancel the energy leases outright.

In setting the schedule, federal land managers for the first time are considering the dissolution of energy leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area as an option to settle a dispute over whether they were granted illegally, as leaders of the Blackfeet Nation contend. The Badger-Two Medicine is home to the Blackfeet creation story and is at the center of a hard-fought legal battle, with the lease-holder calling for the drilling suspension to be lifted on one side and a vast coalition of tribes, conservation groups and Montana politicians urging permanent protection on the other.

The timeline to resolve the decades-old suspension of an energy lease in the Badger-Two Medicine was drafted after a federal judge ordered the U.S. Department of Justice, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to draft a schedule for the agencies to complete their review.

Read more . . .

Badger-Two Medicine: “Too wild to drill”

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

The Wilderness Society weighs in on the issue of drilling leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region . . .

As the Blackfeet Nation’s leaders ramp up efforts to protect the Badger-Two Medicine area near Glacier National Park from oil and gas development, a nationwide conservation group has issued a report singling out the sacred region as a top priority for environmental safeguards.

The Wilderness Society’s 2015 edition of “Too Wild to Drill,” which identifies places the group believes should be off limits to energy development, featured the Badger-Two Medicine among three other lands deserving protection, including Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado’s Thompson Divide and Grand Junction region and Utah’s Bears Ears and lands near Desolation Canyon.

Flanked on the northwest by Glacier National Park, on the east by the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and on the south by the Bob Marshall and Great Bear Wilderness, the 130,000-acre Badger-Two Medicine is central to the cultural identity of the Blackfeet.

Read more . . .

A response to Senator Daines’ resource development letter

Sen. Daines wrote Montanans on December 19, 2014 asking for feedback on “what Congress should do to increase development of traditional and renewable resources in our state while ensuring we remain good stewards of the environment.”  He also sought feedback on what to do about Montana Wilderness Study Areas. Signed by six prominent conservation groups, the following level-headed response was sent to him last Friday. It’s a lengthy letter, but worth the read. (It is also available for download as a PDF.)


January 23, 2015

The Honorable Steve Daines
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Daines:

We the undersigned groups are sending this letter in response to your December 19 letter seeking feedback on “what Congress should do to increase development of traditional and renewable resources in our state while ensuring we remain good stewards of the environment.” While we appreciate your effort to seek Montanans’ input, we were discouraged by the one-sided framing of issues in your letter. Presenting current government policies as outdated, burdensome and placing severe limits on all energy development does not accurately describe the status quo in our view, nor is this extreme characterization likely to bring diverse Montanans together behind the “balanced solutions” your letter seeks.

Indeed, Montanans across the political spectrum value outdoor spaces and public lands that preserve our natural heritage and enhance our recreation economy, while also promoting responsible resource extraction. The debate on energy and public lands in Montana has progressed beyond the either/or choice between fossil fuel extraction or conservation and recreation. A 2014 Conservation in the West poll confirms this shift, a majority of Montana voters believe we need a balanced approach between energy development and conservation on public lands compared to 27% who think public lands energy development should be strictly limited and 20% who think public lands should be generally open to drilling.

Since your letter specifically requested perspectives on possible release of Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs), we wanted to make sure you are also aware of the consistent and broad support in the state for our wildest lands. Montanans are outdoors people who are proud of our protected Wilderness Areas — from the Bob Marshall to the Cabinets, Rattlesnake and Beartooth Plateau. In the June 2014, University of Montana state wide poll, 78% of respondents said permanently protecting some public lands in Montana as Wilderness has been a good thing for the state. While 51% support designating additional lands as Wilderness, that support level jumped to 66% in the poll if those designations are “crafted here in Montana with community input and the support of local groups.”

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