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Badger-Two Medicine Drilling Lease Headed Back To Court

Map of Solenex lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association
Map of Solenex lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park

The legal fight over oil and gas drilling leases near Glacier National Park has drawn the support of a coalition of tribal and conservation leaders. In March, theU.S. Department of Interior canceled a 30-year-old oil and gas lease in the Lewis and Clark National Forest - land also known as the Badger-Two Medicine.

Shortly after the federal government canceled the lease, the former leaseholder, Solenex LLC, challenged the government’s authority to do so.

“So, the fight to protect the Badger-Two Medicine is far from over.”

That’s Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. Preso filed a request in federal court Tuesday to oppose Solenex’s challenge.

Preso says Tuesday’s filing will provide the Blackfeet Tribe and conservationists a seat at the table during the case that will determine if the federal government has the authority to cancel a lease it granted decades ago.

Blackfeet tribal member Jack Gladstone says the land is too sacred to drill.

"The Badger-Two Medicine is one of those areas of solitude where we can continue to express our traditional practices, such as the sun dance, such as bundle openings, such as the vision quest.”

Solenex says the government has acted outside the law, that its lease should be reinstated and that Solenex should be awarded further compensation as the court sees fit.

The case is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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