Press Release Mar 17, 2016

Interior Department Cancels Illegal Oil and Gas Lease Near Glacier National Park

The Department of the Interior announced cancellation of an oil and gas lease totaling more than 6,000 acres in the sacred Badger-Two Medicine area, adjacent to Glacier National Park in Montana.

Background: Today, in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the Department of the Interior announced cancellation of an oil and gas lease totaling more than 6,000 acres in the Badger-Two Medicine area, adjacent to Glacier National Park in Montana. Interior rightly noted that the lease on land considered sacred by the Blackfeet Nation was granted illegally more than 30 years ago. Interior’s decision is a major step forward in protecting Glacier National Park.

Thousands of Montanans, individuals and organizations have lent their support to the protection of the land, including: 18 tribes, the National Congress of American Indians, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Montana’s senior Senator Jon Tester, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Glacier County Commissioners, retired Glacier National Park superintendents, retired US Forest Service and BLM leadership, hunting and angling groups, ranchers, and even the rock band Pearl Jam.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior to cancel an oil and gas lease at the doorstep of Glacier National Park reflects the wisdom and leadership demonstrated by the Blackfeet Nation, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Senator Jon Tester, who took a courageous stand for these irreplaceable wildlands.”

“Interior’s historic action sets us on a path toward protecting sacred tribal lands and ensuring the protection of Glacier National Park. This pristine landscape is home not only to the Blackfeet culture’s origin stories, but also some of our country’s most iconic wildlife – grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines, and bald eagles. This decision heeds the call of the many individuals who raised their voices in unison, calling for permanent protection of the Badger-Two Medicine. The Interior Department’s decision to keep these 6,000 acres free of oil and gas industrialization sets the stage to finish a job well done and end the remaining 34,000 acres of leases in the Badger-Two Medicine.”

“Previous decisions to protect Glacier National Park’s borderlands from oil and gas development made the Badger-Two Medicine a lone standout in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem – until today. Today’s decision protects the region’s unique ecological values, the Blackfeet Nation’s cultural values, and benefits all who find inspiration, recreation, and solitude in this irreplaceable landscape.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.