“Time does not erase the original error, and there is no statute of limitations for correcting this assault on lands sacred to the Blackfeet Nation” -- NPCA's Michael Jamison
WHITEFISH, MT – On Monday, Sept. 24, a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., ruled the government waited too long before canceling oil and gas leases on wildlands east of Glacier National Park, in a region sacred to the Blackfeet Nation. In reinstating the oil and gas rights, Judge Richard Leon did not address the legality of leases in the Badger-Two Medicine; instead, he ruled that too much time had passed since the leases were issued in the early 1980s.
“Time does not erase the original error, and there is no statute of limitations for correcting this assault on lands sacred to the Blackfeet Nation,” said Michael Jamison, senior program manager at National Parks Conservation Association’s (NPCA) Glacier Field Office.
Culture and wildlands converge in the 130,000-acre Badger-Two Medicine area of northwestern Montana. For the Blackfeet Nation, the Badger-Two Medicine is the sacred home of their creation stories. The Badger-Two Medicine also represents world-class wildlife habitat that connects migration paths between Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
“All other lease holders voluntarily relinquished their holdings in the area, saying they recognize these lands sacred to the Blackfeet Nation are too special to drill,” Jamison said. “More recently, Interior Secretary Zinke highlighted the special nature of the Badger-Two Medicine, recommending the region be protected as a national monument. Despite the court’s ruling, we are confident that Secretary Zinke will uphold his promises to the Blackfeet Nation and defend the integrity of this cultural landscape.”
The Blackfeet Tribe is joined by all other tribes in Montana and Wyoming, several First Nations in Canada and the National Congress of American Indians in their opposition to drilling the sacred Badger-Two Medicine.
“This decades-long fight to safeguard wild and sacred lands from out-of-state oilmen continues, and National Parks Conservation Association remains unwavering in our support to bring justice to the Blackfeet Nation by permanently protecting the Badger-Two Medicine region,” Jamison said.
National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has long fought for the protection of these remarkable lands, alongside thousands of Montanans, conservation organizations, elected officials, retired Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service leadership, and hunting and angling groups.
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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 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org
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