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Blackfeet Campaign To Ban Drilling On Badger-Two Medicine

Gene Sentz
Two Medicine River on the Badger-Two Medicine area.

Wednesday, the Blackfeet Nation launched a campaign urging the termination of oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area southeast of Glacier National Park.

Badger-Two Medicine is home to the Blackfeet stories of creation. Chief Earl Old Person says oil drilling should never be allowed to disrupt the land.

Credit Corin Cates-Carney
Blackfeet Chief Earl Old Person.

  “Badger-Two Medicine is our territory," said Old Person. "It is our land. It is something that we are trying to protect. It is everything to us.” 

The land is outside the Blackfeet Reservation in the Lewis and Clark National Forest, and the decision on what to do with the leases lies with the U.S. Department of Interior.

In 1982, Interior issued a Louisiana company called Solenex an oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine.

It’s one of 18 leases remaining of forty-seven granted in the 1980s. Most leaseholders accepted buyouts, or trades for other leases in order to leave the land, some left voluntarily.

Exploration on the leased land was suspended in 1993 by the Secretary of the Interior. Remaining leases are currently in suspension.

Mountain States Legal Foundation, representing Solenex, says the delay is unreasonable.

The Blackfeet Tribe will meet with the company in Great Falls Thursday, in a discussion to be mediated by The National Forest Service.

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