Environment | Law

Blackfeet Nation states opposition to drilling on sacred land






Badger Creek in the Badger-Two Medicine Area in Montana. Photo from Blackfeet Nation

Members of the public joined the Blackfeet Nation in opposing energy development on sacred land in Montana.

According to news reports, everyone but one person at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation public meeting spoke out against drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine Area adjacent to the reservation. Although only one lease is currently at issue, it covers 6,200 acres of the 165,000-acre site.

“It’s a place you can go and feel the spirits of our people,” council member Joe McKay said at the meeting, The Great Falls Tribune reported. “If you go there and open your heart and your mind, then you’ll experience what we experience. Until you go there and experience it, you can’t describe it.”

The ACHP will take the comments from the meeting and make a recommendation to the U.S. Forest Service by September 21 as part of a court-ordered plan submitted by the Obama administration.

The Forest Service will then make its own recommendation to the Bureau of Land Management by October 31. Finally, that agency will decide, by November 30, whether to cancel the lease or move forward with another environmental review process that will stretch into the next administration.

If the BLM indeed decides to conduct an environmental review, the agency is promising a decision by July 2017 on a lease that was originally issued in 1982. The tribe wasn't consulted at the time.

Get the Story:
Meeting attendees urge cancellation of Badger gas lease (The Great Falls Tribune 9/3)
Dozens testify against Badger-Two Medicine oil and gas lease (The Helena Independent Record 9/3)
Meeting highlights public opposition to drilling in Badger Two Medicine area (KXLH 9/3)
Blackfeet Tribe: Badger-Two Medicine Too Sacred To Drill (Montana Public Radio 9/2)
Blackfeet Tribal Members Weigh in on Drilling in Lewis & Clark National Forest (KFBB 9/2)
Making Sense Of The Decades Long Badger-Two Medicine Drilling Dispute (Montana Public Radio 9/2)

Related Stories:
Obama promises long-overdue action on drilling on sacred land (08/19)
Judge upset with delay in drilling dispute affecting sacred land (07/29)
Blackfeet Nation reiterates opposition to drilling on sacred land (07/10)
Blackfeet Nation to honor Sen. Tester for sacred site support (06/25)
Judge questions delay in drilling on Blackfeet Nation sacred site (06/17)
Judge to hear arguments in Blackfeet Nation sacred site dispute (6/9)
Blackfeet Nation launches campaign to ban drilling at sacred site (04/23)
Blackfeet Nation opposes energy development on sacred lands (03/30)