MTPR

Tim Preso

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

A newly appointed Bureau of Land Management official needs to recuse himself from decisions related to the Badger-Two Medicine area because he has a conflict of interest. That's according to according to the environmental group Earthjustice.

File photo: A grizzly bear sow and cub in Yellowstone National Park.
Jim Peaco - National Park Service (PD)

 Updated 7:00 p.m. 08/30/18

Grizzly bear hunts in Wyoming and Idaho scheduled to begin Saturday were temporarily halted by a federal judge in Missoula Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen issued a temporary restraining order on the hunt after refraining to rule from the bench yesterday on removing Yellowstone area grizzly bears from the endangered species list, as some were expecting.

Bull trout are a threatened species.
Joel Sartore/ National Geographic & Wade Fredenberg/ USFWS / USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act Thursday that it says will streamline efforts to protect species and habitat. Critics say the changes would severely erode the law.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)

Several lawsuits were filed Friday against the U.S. government's decision to lift protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area. Some of the groups involved include the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, The Humane Society and Earthjustice.
 
Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso says there’s been a recent spike in local grizzly bear deaths.

For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear's population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal's status to the state level.

The agency says the rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered species list will be published "in coming days" and "will take effect 30 days after publication."

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

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, the U.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.

(PD)

A federal court has ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act when it authorized killing four grizzly bears in Grand Teton National Park.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Today, the parties in a dispute over an oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area went back to court after failing to reach a settlement. The case has been paused since December, when Louisiana leaseholder Solenex and the Interior Department asked a federal judge for time to work on settling the issue outside of court.

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.
(PD)

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.

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.

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