Environment | Politics

Blackfeet Nation opposes energy development on sacred lands






The Sweet Grass Hills are a part of the Badger-Two Medicine Area in Montana. Photo from National Trust for Historic Preservation

The Blackfeet Nation of Montana is seeing support for its effort to protect sacred lands from energy development.

Tribal leaders have asked the Obama administration to cancel 18 oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine Area, saying they weren't properly consulted. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, supports the effort.

"This area has unique cultural, historical, spiritual, and recreational significance to the people of the Blackfeet Nation and Montana," Tester wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. " I request that the remaining oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine be cancelled to prevent adverse effects to the land or the people of the region."

The 130,000-acre Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest was part of an agreement signed in 1896. Tribal leaders say they only meant to lease the land to the government for 99 years and are seeking the return of the land.

The land is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Get the Story:
Tester urges feds to cancel oil, gas leases near Blackfeet Reservation (The Missoulian 3/28)
Tester wants Badger-Two Medicine leases canceled (The Great Falls Tribune 3/28)

Related Stories:
Blackfeet Nation seeks return of sacred area (11/16)