Badger Creek in the
Badger-Two Medicine Area in Montana. Photo from Blackfeet Nation
The Blackfeet Nation
of Montana has broken off talks with an energy company that wants to drill for oil and gas on sacred land.
The tribe was talking with Solenex LLC, the holder of a lease in the Badger-Two Medicine Area near the reservation. At one point, the tribe offered its own land for development but the company did not accept.
“We are not going to speak to anything other than no development,” John Murray, the tribe's historic preservation officer, told the Associated Press.
Development in Badger-Two Medicine was approved
during the Reagan administration without consulting the tribe.
According to the AP, most have expired or were sold but 18 remain -- including one held by Solenex.
The company is suing the Interior Department, claiming the federal government has unreasonably delayed the work due to concerns raised by the tribe.
The judge handling the case has questioned the delay but no decision has been issued in Solonex
LLC v. Jewell.
Badger-Two Medicine falls within the Lewis and Clark National
Forest and was covered by an agreement signed by the tribe in 1896. Tribal leaders say they only meant to lease the land to the government for 99 years. They are seeking the return of the land.
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