Judge questions delay in drilling on Blackfeet Nation sacred site

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

A federal judge held a hearing earlier this month in an energy development dispute that affects sacred Blackfeet Nation land in Montana.

The tribe opposes oil and gas drilling in the 165,000-acre area Badger-Two Medicine Area near the reservation. Development was approved during the Reagan administration without prior consultation.

Solenex LLC holds an exploration lease and has been seeking to drill on the land since the 1980s. The company claims the Interior Department has unreasonably delayed the work due to concerns raised by the tribe.

Judge Richard Leon called the lengthy delay “troubling” and a “nightmare” at the June 10 hearing, the Associated Press reported. “This is no way to run a government. No way to run a government,” he said.

The tribe is not a party to the lawsuit but has asked Congress and the Obama administration to cancel all leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area. The case is Solonex LLC v. Jewell.

Get the Story:
Judge demands explanation for lengthy delay on energy lease (AP 6/17)

Related Stories
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)

Join the Conversation