The Wilderness Society Statement on Badger-Two Medicine Oil and Gas Leases

Nov 23, 2015

Badger-Two Medicine (MT) tonybynum.com

 

Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has announced her intention to cancel a key oil and gas lease located in the heart of the wild Badger-Two Medicine area of northwest Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front.

“Secretary Jewell is on the right track. The plan to pursue cancellation of this oil and gas lease sets the stage for getting rid of the remaining leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. “This is not only an ecologically invaluable link between Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, it’s a sacred place for the Blackfeet Nation and a stronghold for the Blackfeet culture. Badger-Two Medicine is not an appropriate location for drill rigs and the roads and other infrastructure that would accompany drilling.”

Located at the doorstep of Glacier National Park, the 130,000-acre Badger-Two Medicine region’s grasslands, forests and rugged terrain provide secure, essential habitat for grizzly bears, elk, wolverines and many other species. The region is central to the Blackfeet Nation's cultural identity.

The threats facing Badger-Two Medicine have come from decades-old oil and gas leases. In 1981, the Department of Interior under the Reagan administration began issuing leases in Badger-Two Medicine without full environmental review and without consulting the Blackfeet people, violating laws that require they do so. Because the leases were improperly issued and violate key environmental laws, the Department of the Interior has the legal authority as well as the moral obligation to cancel the remaining federal oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine.

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 700,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.