Choosing wild lands over oil and gas development, the Department of the Interior retired 32,254 acres of leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area, adjacent to Glacier National Park in Montana.
Background: Today, the Department of the Interior retired 32,254 acres of oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area, adjacent to Glacier National Park in Montana. The move comes eight months after a lease cancellation of more than 6,000 acres by Interior, and answers the call by many that the Badger-Two Medicine region – a wildlife-rich and sacred landscape for the Blackfeet Nation – should not be industrialized by roads, bridges and drill rigs.
The retired leases, previously held by Devon Energy, were the largest in the region, and were sold amid heated controversy for just $1 per acre, more than 30 years ago. Interior had previously noted that these and other leases in the region had been issued improperly, without sufficient environmental review or tribal consultation.
National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has echoed the calls of thousands of Montanans, individuals and organizations in support of permanent protection for the lands. Those in support of forever protecting the Badger-Two Medicine area have included: 18 tribes, the National Congress of American Indians, 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.
Below is a statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)
“Today’s decision reflects wisdom and leadership by the Blackfeet Nation, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Devon Energy, on behalf of irreplaceable wildlands. NPCA commends these leaders and the thousands of individuals who have supported actions to remove oil and gas leases at the doorstep of Glacier National Park.
“Amplified by the cancellation of a 6,000-acre lease earlier this year, Secretary Jewell now has taken more than 32,000 acres of wildlife and culturally-rich Badger-Two Medicine lands off the table for drilling. Secretary Jewell’s actions help safeguard the region’s unique ecological values and the Blackfeet Nation’s cultural values, and benefit all who find inspiration, recreation and solitude in this irreplaceable landscape.
“Today’s announcement leaves only two smaller leases left in the Badger-Two Medicine to be retired, to make way for the permanent protection of this entire landscape. NPCA urges the remaining lease holders and Secretary Jewell to finish the work of forever protecting the region.”
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.
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