Badger Creek in the
Badger-Two Medicine Area in Montana. Photo from Blackfeet Nation
Badger-Two Medicine decision
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor
GREAT FALLS. MONT— Senator John Tester joined activists from across Indian Country in celebration of the U.S. Department of Interior’s recent decision to file in federal court to cancel an oil and gas lease in an area of Glacier National Park that is held sacred to citizens of the Blackfeet Nation.
The Badger-Two Medicine area located in Glacier National Park had been targeted for oil and gas drilling but pressure from Tester, tribes, environmentalists, and Indigenous activists secured another environmental victory.
“Badger-Two Medicine is too sacred to develop,” Chairman Harry Barnes said from Browning, the headquarters of the Blackfeet Nation. “We’re grateful this administration has taken a critical step toward permanent protection of this site that is like a church -- a divine sanctuary -- to our people.”
In March, Tester sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging them to cancel all of the existing oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine. Last year, Tester passed historic conservation legislation to permanently protect the Rocky Mountain Front and the North Fork of the Flathead River, ensuring no oil and gas leases will be permitted on those pristine lands.
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"Today's decision is a step toward protecting the Badger-Two Medicine for future generations. This area is a unique region that has cultural, historical, spiritual, and recreational significance to the people of the Blackfeet Nation and Montana. For too long the oil and gas leases in Badger-Two Medicine have caused uncertainty in this pristine landscape. I applaud all of the folks in Browning and across Montana who have worked so hard on this issue."
The decision follows President Barack Obama’s decision to not authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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