Montana Public Radio

U.S. Department of Interior

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.

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.

Coal Royalties Listening Tour Stops In Billings Tuesday

Aug 10, 2015
A Coal Mine in the Powder River basin.
U.S. Geological Survey

The federal government’s controversial coal program is the subject of a public listening session in Billings Tuesday. It’s the first of four planned throughout the heart of American coal country. The Department of Interior is encouraging the public to enter the fray.

USDA NRCS

New legislation introduced this week aims to ensure taxpayers get the full value of coal mined from public lands. Critics say coal companies are ripping off American taxpayers by not paying their fair share of royalty payments.

Montana Activists Rally Against Coal Trains
Flickr user Erin Kinney (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

Critics say that for decades the coal industry has gamed the system to underpay its fair share of federal coal royalties. They say those alleged schemes have padded the bottom lines of coal companies while short-changing state and local governments of tens of millions of dollars.

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

A federal judge has given Interior Secretary Sally Jewell three weeks to take action on a Louisiana company’s natural gas leases near Glacier National Park that have been held up for 29 years.

Forest Service Predicts Above-Average Fire Season For Western U.S.

Jun 9, 2015
Fire fighters building fire line.
BLM (PD)

The Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior and the U.S. Forest Service chief expect above average wildfire activity this year, especially across the Western U.S.

The three held a telephone briefing with reporters yesterday afternoon on the upcoming 2015 wildfire season.

Blackfeet Campaign To Ban Drilling On Badger-Two Medicine

Apr 22, 2015
Gene Sentz

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.

The U.S. Interior Department has ruled that former Chippewa Cree tribal Chairman Ken Blatt St. Marks was ousted from his job illegally in 2013. 

John Paul Schmidt, a staff writer with the Havre Daily News, says St. Marks was voted out when he was helping federal investigators look into missing money from a pipeline project on the Chippewa-Cree Reservation.

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