MTPR

Blackfeet Nation

St. Mary River.
Royalbroil (CC BY-SA 3.0)

A vote on a water compact for the Blackfeet tribe was delayed Wednesday, as Montana’s U.S. Senators requested more time to finalize the bill’s language.

Two Medicine River, in the Badger-Two Medicine area.
Courtesy Gene Sentz

Federal officials say they are prepared to cancel a long-suspended oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area near Glacier National park.

We know the story in broad strokes: Anglo-Americans settled in the East, then moved West. Again and again, trade with Indians was replaced by war. In less than a hundred years, it was over, many tribes forced onto reservations. Off the national radar, what's been going on? Harry Barnes knows better than most. He’s Chairman of the Tribal Council Of the Blackfeet Nation, and our guest this week on "Home Ground Radio".

On Friday Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack sent a letter to the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, urging her to cancel the 18 remaining leases on the Forest Service land that’s sacred to the Blackfeet people.
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The head of the U.S. Forest Service now says he believes that all oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest should be cancelled.

On Friday Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack sent a letter to the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, urging her to cancel the 18 remaining leases on the Forest Service land that’s sacred to the Blackfeet people.

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

This week more voices came out in support of canceling oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest.

Nineteen retired U.S. Forest Service leaders sent a letter to the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture urging the cancellation of the 18 remaining leases.

Solenex well site is the last remaining oil lease in Badger-Two-Medicine.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

A U.S. District Court judge today gave the federal government until November 23 to decide whether a Louisiana company can drill for oil and gas on National Forest land in the Badger Two-Medicine area adjacent to Glacier National Park.

Solenex well site is the last remaining oil lease in Badger-Two-Medicine.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

A federal advisory council that’s been reviewing a decades old proposal to explore for energy in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest issued its recommendation today.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s recommendation says:

Members of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation hear comments on proposed drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine area in Choteau, MT Sept. 2, 2015
Corin Cates-Carney

The federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation held a meeting in Choteau Wednesday evening on proposed drilling on U.S. Forest Service land in the Badger-Two Medicine area. The council is trying to understand how and if the exploration for natural gas can comply with the National Historic Preservation Act.

Solenex well site is the last remaining oil lease in Badger-Two-Medicine.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

John Murray, the Blackfeet Tribe’s historic preservation officer says the Badger-Two Medicine is sacred land. As he walks through the tall dry grass here, he refuses to give life to the idea that this land will be disturbed in search of natural gas.

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

Wednesday brings another round in the decades-long fight over whether to allow energy development on U.S. Forest Service land in the Badger-Two Medicine area just south of the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.

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