A Texas oilman is suing the federal government after they canceled his lease, along with two others, in the Badger Two-Medicine area south of Glacier National Park in Montana.
The area is a sacred site for the Blackfeet Nation.
"We are supporting oil and gas development on the Blackfeet Reservation, just not in our sacred and cultural areas," says Tyson Running Wolf, secretary for the Blackfeet Tribal Council
Running Wolf says the tribe offered the leaseholder, William "Tex" Moncrief, a chance to move his lease and explore other, less sacred places on the reservation.
"We were really interested in sitting down with them and working out a deal, but they never ever answered us back and it wasn’t something they were interested in doing prior to them leases being canceled," Running Wolf says.
In his lawsuit, Moncrief says the federal government was playing politics at the end of the Obama administration instead of considering the historical merits of his lease, which was granted in the 1980s.
The case has been assigned to the same federal judge in Washington, D.C. that’s hearing a similar case involving Solenex LLC, another former leaseholder in the Badger Two-Medicine area. They filed a lawsuit in 2013.